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Archimedes Screw

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What are the physics concept behind the mechanism of the Archimedes Screw? I searched all over the internet for answers, but to no avail. The explanations were fine, but I was not totally satisfied because there were no specific physics concept mentioned. Thank you very much. (Asked Belle)

Response: The Archimedes’ screw, also called the Archimedean screw or screwpump, is a machine historically used for transferring water from a low-lying body of water into irrigation ditches. (Says Wikipedia)

The working principle involves inertia (can also be attributed to centrifugal reaction) and the inclined plane. The water entering the one end of the screw(pump) gets up “step by step” and during each rotation, more water is taken in and is pumped up. The pumping action will continue as long as it is rotated with sufficient speed. A decrease in speed can result in water going back.

The diagram on right is somewhat self explanatory; look at it closely and you will get new revelations! The screw is rotated by external means and there is no wonder, the work done in rotation lifts the marble/water up the pipe.

Refer the following links for more info:


  1. Prof. Shatendra Sharma Writes:
    “The Newton’s 1st law is the principle involved. The water is stationary and screw rotates and due to its inertia it gets into screw and new fluid or water is taken in that pushes previous water further up. If rotation of screw is stopped the water will return back so a continous rotation of the screw must be maintained.”

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