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Communicating vessels HTML5


The surface of a liquid is always horizontal.

When several vessels connect with each other, they are communicating vessels. The surface of the liquid that fills each of the containers is the same level everywhere.  

An imbalance in levels is observed if:

  • The containers are not interconnected or obstruction (valve) prevents the flow of liquid.
  • The pressure is not the same in each container (this is the case if a container is stopped).

If one of the containers has a very small diameter, then capillary action may significantly alter the level of the liquid.

Click on the bottle or the valve to activate the animation.
Click on the square to make it slide.

Learning goals

  • To understand that the surface of water is always horizontal regardless of the shape of the container.
  • To introduce the notion of atmospheric pressure.
  • To understand the principle of communicating vessels and how to apply the principle to water towers or locks.

Learn more

The principle of communicating vessels is related to the concept of pressure.
For simplicity, the pressure distributed over the surface of a tube results from all the forces caused by the liquid…

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