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Interfacial Tension

The molecules in a fluid attract each other; these are called cohesive forces. The forces on a single molecule in the body of the fluid are the same in all directions and therefore cancel. However, at the surface of the fluid there is an imbalance, and there is a net force on the molecules at the surface. The effect is as if the surface were covered with a thin elastic film in tension. The tension force across a line of unit length in the surface gives the magnitude of the interfacial tension; interfacial tension can therefore be expressed as a force per unit length, or in units: N/m. ymbol: σ. Interfacial Energy !onsider the wor" done in extending a fluid surface:

D y A

C F x B



# force $ is applied over the distance x to extend the rectangle from #%!& to #%'!'&. The force is $ ( σ.y; the wor" done )increase of energy* to create the area x.y is: + ( $.x ( σ.y.x o interfacial tension is also e,uivalent to a urface -nergy per unit area.

Excess Pressure +hen a curved surface forms, pressure is higher on the concave side of the surface. $or a spherical drop of radius ., excess pressure matches interfacial tension force: ∆/excess π..0 ( 0.π...σ 2σ ∆Pexcess = R -xcess pressure is defined in general by: 1 1 ∆Pexcess = σ R + R    1 2 .1 and .0 are radii of curvature of surface in two perpendicular directions.

P+∆ Pexcess P

Fluid/Solid Interface !ohesive forces 2 amongst fluid molecules. #dhesive forces 2 between fluid and solid. 3f !ohesion 4 #dhesion then fluid spreads )wetting, e.g. water on glass*. 3f !ohesion 5 #dhesion then fluid retreats )non2wetting, e.g. mercury on glass*. !ontact #ngle #t li,uid/gas interfaces, the struggle between cohesion and adhesion affects the contact angle.

Gas Liquid
θ467 8 +etting

Gas Liquid
θ567 8 Non2wetting

Interfacial Tension Measurement

π. • !leanliness is important but easier to achieve. +hen force $ exceeds interfacial tension. -.uired to allow for non2vertical li.uid film brea"s.d. +. +eigh drop.cosθ.se travelling microscope to measure h and θ. 3mpurities tend to gather at interfaces.π.uid exceeds interfacial tension force.σ as the film has two sides so F σ= 2πd • $orce is measured with &u Nouy tensiometer. 3t is difficult to measure θ accurately Drop Weight Method <i. F d . 3nterfacial tension holds li. • !orrections re.d.d.π. the li. 3ts weight is: πd2 W =ρ hg 4 Total interfacial force is σ. diameter d. !apillary and fluids must be exceptionally clean.uid cylinder of length h.Capillary Rise Measurement (or Fall if non-wetting) d h 3nterfacial tension supports li. drop falls off. 9ertical component is σ. . +hen weight of li.uid film to ring.uid surface at brea"away.uired for incomplete wetting of ring and inner/outer diameter difference.uating force to weight: ρgdh σ= 4 cos θ Tube diameter normally 12: mm. hence calculate σ: σ= W πd . $ ( 0. #t brea"ing point.uid flows very slowly from capillary. Ring Pull Method # platinum wire ring is pulled slowly above surface. d !orrection is re.