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Surface Tension

Surface Tension

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Published by Bizay Marikhu
CONCEPTUAL QUESTIONS ON SURFACE TENSION
CONCEPTUAL QUESTIONS ON SURFACE TENSION

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Published by: Bizay Marikhu on Oct 29, 2009
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12/19/2012

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 SURFACE TENSION
1.
 
A pond skater can walk on water but a person cannot. Why?The surface tension of water acts as stretched membrane due to surface tension. So, it cansupport small loads. But, this tension is not sufficient to support large loads and the membranebreaks down when such load is kept. Hence, a pond skater which has small load can, therefore,walk on water but a person whose load is very large cannot. 2.
 
A wet tent will let in water if the inside is touched. Why?In wet tent, there is a surface film. The surface acts as a stretched elastic membrane due tosurface tension. The membrane allows not more water to enter inside. But when it is touched,the membrane will be broken down and tent will let in water. 3.
 
A small piece of camphor placed on the surface dances. Why?The surface of water acts as a stretched elastic membrane due to surface tension. When a smallpiece of camphor is placed on the surface, it will lower the surface tension at the point of contact. The camphor particles are pulled towards pure water (i.e. towards the region of highersurface tension). A net unbalanced force arises there and it pulls the camphor across the water.The process continues until the camphor dissolves completely. Due to the pull of unbalancedsurface tension, the piece of camphor appears to be dancing on the surface water. 4.
 
Lead shots are made by pouring a molten stream of lead from tower. What is the physicalreason behind it?Liquids have a property called surface tension due to which it tries to minimize its surface area.We know for a given volume, spherical shape has its minimum surface area. Liquid, therefore,takes a spherical shape when it is allowed to do so. When molten lead is poured from tall tower,the stream of lead will be broken down into small drops during fall and they will take sphericalshape resulting excellent shots. 5.
 
Oil spreads over the surface of water, whereas water does not spread over oil. Why?The force of cohesion of oil molecules is lesser than the force of adhesion between themolecules of oil and water. Therefore, oil spreads over the surface of water. But force of cohesion of water molecules is greater than the force of adhesion between water and oilmolecules. Therefore, water does not spread over oil surfaces but takes spherical shape. 6.
 
Small mercury drop is nearly spherical but larger one is flat when resting on clean glass surface.Why?The shape of liquid drop depends upon the surface tension as well as the force of gravity actingon it. The force of gravity depends upon the volume of the drop whereas the surface tensiondepends upon the surface area of the drop. Therefore, the ration of surface tension to the forceof gravity is proportional to. When r is small, the surface tension dominates the force of gravityand the drop is nearly spherical. But when r is large, force of gravity dominates the surfacetension and hence the drop becomes flat.7.
 
The flat glass slides with a thin layer of water between them are difficult to pull apart, why?Water wets the glass, i.e. the force of adhesion between glass and water molecules is large incomparison to the force of cohesion between water molecules. When a thin layer of water is

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