Fresh ideas, inventions that I pass along to the world. Maybe they already exist. Maybe they’re useful. Maybe they’re fun.
The Passive Pump is a one-way valve extended down to the nanometer level. A small flap constrained to only allow particles to flow in one direction may be designed to have sufficient resistance to allow individual particles to strike it, move it, and allow the particles through without allowing lower energy particles to escape. It is straightforward to understand how high pressure fluids pass to a lower pressure area. The purpose of building MEMS scale or nano-scale valves is to take advantage of the normal distribution of particle energy within an otherwise homogenous fluid. Within any otherwise homogenous fluid there are particles that have more or less energy than the rest. By designing the flap correctly, the higher energy particles could pass. Their passage effectively lowers the pressure on one side of the valve, and raises it on the other. This action provides the possibility to seal a container and either increase or decrease its internal pressure without additional mechanical, chemical, or energetic means. Pressure would be increased or decreased passively. Density and temperature will be similarly affected.
The proof of concept is potentially simple. An experiment could be run testing various materials, flap geometries, and supports in the presence of various fluids. My expectation is that the greater the chaos and randomness of the high pressure fluid, the quicker the response.
The flap could probably be manufactured with existing microchip, MEMS, and nanoscale manufacturing technologies.
The applications could be for anything that has to be held at a pressure that is different than ambient, either high or low pressure. Partial vacuum, or inflated materials and fluids may be stored with their pressure maintained by the valve. A passive pump or valve would be particularly useful in areas without reliable power, and in applications that involve long term storage.
Originally recorded in my idea log December 2, 2005. I’d hoped to raise the funds to pursue this, but evidently I wasn’t able to over the last six years. Here it is. Anyone else want to play with it?