How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works
 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
 
Question 128

Why does a hose squirt further when you cover the hole with your thumb?
The water entering the hose has a certain amount of energy per liter. That energy can be in one of three forms: pressure potential energy, gravitational potential energy, or kinetic energy. If you let it flow freely through the hose, most of that energy will become kinetic energy and the water will move quickly through the hose. But it will encounter frictional effects as it slides past the walls of the hose (its viscosity participates here) and it will convert much of its kinetic energy into thermal energy by the time it leaves the hose. However, if you pinch off the flow with your thumb, the water won't be able to convert its energy into kinetic form as it enters the hose. Most of the energy will remain as pressure potential energy. The water will move slowly through the hose and it will experience relatively little energy loss to frictional effects. Most of the energy will remain by the time the water reaches your thumb. Then, as the water flows past your thumb to the outside air, its pressure will drop suddenly and its energy will become kinetic energy. The water will spray out at very high speed.
         

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