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Cooling the machines

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The efficiency lost is pretty minimal with a high-demand system. If you're pulling 10kg/s, then it's pointless... but the less you draw the more impactful it becomes. You can end up saving a lot of power depending on the situation. The fact is that the pump uses 240kJ (for liquid pumps) to pump for a single second. If your pipe is backed up and it only pumps 1kg of liquid, you've used 10x the power (per unit of liquid moved). So if that pump runs at that rate ten times, you've used 2400kJ to move 10kg of liquid, instead of using 240kJ. It's an extreme example, but you get the idea. By using the pipe as a bit of storage, you can pump 10kg/s, send 10 full packets, and one partial packet (usually can't be helped when you shut off the pump), and you get maximum efficiency.

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Set up an experiment to see if the partial packet thing still applies if the pipes are blocked, and apparently it doesn't any more.

I used a set of liquid pumps, each with a partially charged battery (3315kJ). You'd expect this to move about 138kg of liquid at 100% efficiency.

The four on the left were filled up to capacity, while the two on the right were fed drips from valves (to simulate a trickle from a generator or something like that).

Pumps 2, 3, and 4 have valves to simulate low-demand systems with filled/blocked pipes.

From left to right:

  1. no valve, full 10 kg/s. moved 137.9 kg, 99.9% efficient
  2. output valve set to 5 kg/s, moved 143.9 kg, 104.3% efficient
  3. output valve set to 2.5 kg/s, moved 145.9 kg, 105.7% efficient
  4. output valve set to 100 g/s, moved 127.9 kg, 92.7% efficient
  5. input valve set to 5 kg/s, moved 104.9 kg, 76.0% efficient
  6. input valve set to 2.5 kg/s, moved 69.9 kg, 50.7% efficient

I found the results surprising and interesting so I thought I'd share them... especially since the first four pumps did the opposite of what I thought they were going to do. Some losses due to the batteries happened, but the rate was the same for all pumps so I ignored it. The efficiency drop for 5 and 6 seems pretty linear... you'd expect 100% at 10kg/s, each time you cut the input by a factor of two, the efficiency drops by 25%. So for something like 1000 g/s, you'd expect to see around 20% efficiency.

Another thing I noticed is that the batteries (in vacuum) heat production didn't change based on power draw, so pump 4's battery put out way more heat than the others. It was twice as hot, but it had to run for much longer.

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