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Toss water on a hot pan and it sizzles and evaporates. Toss water on a really hot pan, and the water beads up and starts roaming around.
Now, turn your hot pan into a hot small staircase and watch the water climb the stairs.
When scientists heated a piece of brass with sawtooth ridges — a thing that looks like a ratchet — water drops traveled quickly, and in one direction: up.
The research is scheduled to be published in the April 14 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.
If the droplet pumps prove strong enough, Linke said they could be cooling computers in about six years.
In the meantime, schoolteachers have a new trick for the classroom.