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Surface Tension Of Water

Surface tension is defined as the force required to maintain unit length of the film in tension (or) it is the property of the liquid surface film to exert a tension. It is denoted by Greek letter σ (sigma) . In MKS units, it is expressed as kgf/m while in SI units as N/m.

Surface tension of water

The phenomenon of surface tension is explained by considering three molecules A,B,C of a liquid in a mass liquid. The molecules A is attracted in all directions equally by the surrounding molecules of the liquid. Thus the resultant force acting on the molecules A is zero. But the molecule B , which is situated near the free surface, is acted upon by upward and downward forces which are unbalanced. Thus a net resultant force on molecule B is acting in the downward direction. The molecule C, situated on the free surface of liquid, does experience a resultant downward force. All the molecules on the free surface experience a downward force. Thus the free surface of the liquid acts like a very thin film under tension of the surface of the liquid acts as through it is a elastic membrane under tension.

Factors Affecting Surface Tension

  1. Surface tension is caused due to cohesion and hence with an increase in temperature, surface tension value decreases for all liquids
  2. The value also depends upon the fluid in contact with it. In general, air is the contact fluid.

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