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Please let me start by a quick description of the environment :

  • The planet where the action takes place is several times bigger than our Earth, and orbits around a fictive star into a fictive solar system.

  • Because of a cataclysm (like... an uncontrolled sudden instant global terraformation... some weird stuff happened there...), there aren't any "continent" as we know, only vast and deep oceans, and rather very sharp and very high mountains. Too sharp to build anything over it, actually.

  • The size and amount of clouds reflect the fact that almost the whole surface is covered by water (by the way, it's classic salty sea water). Therefore, there are numerous, titanic clouds.

  • The technology level of the civilisation is so advanced that the rulers have a massive machinery allowing them to "re-shape the reality", hidden to almost everyone else. But do not focus on that point since they still can't use it properly, and almost destroyed their world trying so. Still, they can "cheat" on some little stuff.

  • The civilian used to be biologically similar to us, but after the cataclysm, they now just look like human and their body would not biologically be able to keep being fully functional outside of their flying cities, and eventually dies.

Now let's get closer to the subject of my question :

There are huge, flying futuristic megacities, which are floating over the clouds. At their very surface, in fact, like if they could float only over clouds. It never rains. Instead, the surface of a city surface may be covered with a more or less thick mist. The only natural source of water at their height is the one from clouds and mist.

To gather this water, I was thinking of using a gigantic set of sails under the city, which by their material and the way the sails are constructed, would suck the water up to the city water network thanks to the capillary action.

Here is what I am wondering :

Can such a dispositive using this mechanic has the effect I want (dragging the water up to the city)? In other word, is it possible/worth, in such proportion I mean.
How about using the same kind of system to exploit the mist ?
I'm curious also on how it would affect the cloud/mist.

If you need more info about some stuff or need me to respell something, I'll edit the question

edit :

  • The sociopolitical context is that there are a few rulers, who rules because they're rich enough, and the information is very, very controlled.

  • the "rulers" are supplying an unlimited amount of electricity through their "cheating-on-reality-machine", but are lying about its origin to keep benefices from selling energy.

  • In each city, at its very center, there's a disproportional tower citizens call "the Administration", where basically the ruler rules. But it also hide some kind of advanced ionic motor whose characteristics are buffed by the cheating machine, which also providing the fuel.

  • The level of skill and understanding of the machine the rulers have at the moment doesn't allow them to properly reshape anything. They can just barely modify existing thing, but providing energy was their first success. They can't actually manage to create water from nothing, nor food, nor a lot of stuff. They're really limited right know by generating energy, and keeping their ionic motors running fine. The energy they're "creating" mostly comes from the bunch of failed expriment to create stuff from nothing with their machine.

  • Actually it just "seems" the cities are sitting on the clouds. They could fly around without them, but it's more convenient to get water. Also they can't fly under nor over their current altitude, which is the top of the clouds, because of the way they "cheat" to get their motor working. It's like it's "locked" at this altitude.

Thank you ~

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  • $\begingroup$ Are the cities sitting on the clouds? The power to keep the city and the cloud there with magic would seriously be harder to believe than how the water makes it from the cloud up to the city. $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Jul 21 '17 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ How do the cities float exactly? Anyway you can't use capillary action to "suck up" the water. It won't work, maybe think condensing it. $\endgroup$ – SilverCookies Jul 21 '17 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Actually it just "seems" the cities sitting on the clouds. They could fly around without them, but they can't fly under a certain altitude, which is the top of the clouds. $\endgroup$ – Zblouite Jul 21 '17 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ @SilverCookies hm, could you tell me more about the efficiency of a system condensing water to supply a whole city please ? Also the "rulers" are supplying an unlimited amount of electricity through their "cheating-on-reality-machine", but are lying about its origin to keep benefices from selling energy. The sociopolitical context is that there are a few rulers, who rules because they're rich enough, and the information is very, very controlled. I'm going to add these to the original post. $\endgroup$ – Zblouite Jul 21 '17 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ Nvm, I made some research about condensing water in large proportion, this would do the job, I'll have to adjust the design if I'm going for this solution. $\endgroup$ – Zblouite Jul 21 '17 at 20:58
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You cannot use capillary action to do work. I have tried mightily, with hours of experiments in the basement pulling capillary tubes. Think of capillarity as a dry thing that wants to be wet. Once it is wet, it is done. The water will not come out of the tube unless some force moves it out.

You can use capillary action to kick off a self-starting siphon, which is cool.

Your cloud net would be fine. Also very pretty if you made it out of copper (to discourage algae). Have catchment vessels at the bottom of each net, as is typical for these nets. Then pump it up from the catchment vessel with an electric pump, or a windmill, or a epsilon-caste individual who mans a hand pump.

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  • $\begingroup$ Self-starting siphon.. interesting, might re-use the idea for some events in the lore of the world. Besides, if I get it good, capillarity on its own isn't suffisent to drag the water up to the city, but if there's kind of vacuum, or electric pump, to pump the water out of the capillary tubes, it would do the job ? $\endgroup$ – Zblouite Jul 21 '17 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ addition : And if not, then I think i'll opt for catchment vessels being pumped. I've already thought about a design using copper cloud net, it's an option I would pick. $\endgroup$ – Zblouite Jul 21 '17 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ You could have a tube which filled itself as a capillary tube, and then use it to continue to pump water through. At which point it is just a tube under your pump. I tried to use capillarity to move water to the top of a large cap tube, then the tiniest cap tube ever to be a self starting siphon from the top of the large tube. The self starting siphon tube filled but did not drain. Water at the top of a capillary tube does not count as being higher, it would seem. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 24 '17 at 0:46
  • $\begingroup$ @will, it's because the gravity difference is not enough to overcome waters attraction to the tube it is in. The point where the force applied by suction from gravity is, hairball to be below the start of the capillary tube. $\endgroup$ – Garret Gang Sep 3 '17 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Garret Gang: I am glad you are using the word "hairball" enough that your autocorrect chooses it! $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 3 '17 at 20:16

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