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What is Surface Tension?

by Team Goseeko


Surface tension is the “The property of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force, due to the cohesive nature of its molecules.”

The cohesive forces between liquid molecules are responsible for the phenomenon surface tension.

The cohesive forces between molecules in a liquid are shared with all neighboring molecules.

However, those on the surface have no neighboring molecules above, and therefore, exhibit stronger attractive forces upon their nearest neighbors on and below the surface.

Therefore, it could be defined as the property of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force, due to the cohesive nature of the water molecules other than mercury,

However, water has the greatest surface tension of any liquid.

For instance, within a body of a liquid, a molecule will not experience a net force because the forces by the neighboring molecules all cancel out.

However for a molecule on the surface of the liquid, there will be a net inward force since there will be no attractive force acting from above.

In other words, this inward net force causes the molecules on the surface to contract and to resist of being stretched or broken. Thus the surface is under tension, and therefore the name ” surface tension “.

 Some examples of Surface tension

  • Surface tension disinfectants: Disinfectants are usually solutions of low pressure. This allow them to spread out on the cell walls of bacteria and disrupt them.
  • Soaps and detergents: These help the cleaning of clothes by lowering the pressure of the water so that it more readily soaks into pores and soiled areas.
  • Why bubbles are round: The tension of water provides the necessary wall tension for the formation of bubbles with water. The tendency to minimize that wall tension pulls the bubbles into spherical shapes
  • Walking on water: Small insects such as the water strider can walk on water because their weight is not enough to penetrate the surface.

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3. What is Calorific value?

4. What is Kirchoff’s law?

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