Surface Tension

Last updated: September 24, 2015

What Does Surface Tension Mean?

All liquids exhibit surface tension, a phenomenon in which the surface of the liquid acquires the smallest possible surface area. When liquids form an interface with air, the molecules of water are attracted to one another to a greater degree than they are attracted to air molecules. This causes the liquid to exert force inwards, creating the appearance of an elastic membrane covering its surface.

Safeopedia Explains Surface Tension

Water is an everyday example of a liquid with a high surface tension. One may see water-striders walking on the surface of water thanks to this phenomenon, and there are various simple experiments that can be conducted at home to demonstrate surface tension. Capillarity is also caused by surface tension. Surface tension is measured in millinewtons per meter at a temperature of 20 degrees centigrade, and different liquids display stronger or weaker surface tension depending on their composition. Surface tension can be measured using a surface tensiometer.


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