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Index Lecture 9

Physics for Civil Engineering

This is an introduction to Electricity, Strength of Materials and Waves.

Lecture 8 (Surface Tension and Surface Energy)

In this lecture:
• surface energy is defined,
• the effects of temperature and contaminants on the surface is discussed,
• methods of measuring surface energy in solids and surface tension in liquids
are given,
• the angle of contact between liquids and solids is defined,
• capillary action is seen as a surface tension effect,
• the size of bubbles is seen as a balance between excess pressure and surface
tension, and
• Laplace's law, for cylinders of fluid.

Surface Energy

Surfaces have energy associated with them because work is needed to form
them.
Surface energy is the work per unit area done by the force that creates the
new surface.

Typical surface energies (Source: Dr. B.R.Lawn)

Material Surface Energy J.m-2


KCl 0.11

Zn 0.11

LiF 0.34

Mica (in Air) 0.38

Mica (in vacuum) 5.0

CaF2 0.45

NaCl 0.50

Pb 0.76

MgO 1.15

Si 1.24

Glass 4.4

Al2O3 (Sapphire) 6->32

Al2O3 (Polycrystalline) 20->40

Limestone 24.

SiC 32.

C (Diamond) 5.24

C (Graphite) 68.

Granite 200.

Fe (Cast Iron) 1520.

From the table, the surface energy is very large for Cast Iron, which is a brittle
material that shatters without much warning. Since brittle fracture creates new
surfaces, the surface energy varies inversely with the tendency to brittle failure.

Rough tendencies for surface energy:


Ionic solids < 1 J.m-2
Metals ~ 1 J.m-2.
Covalent solids >1 J.m-2

Example T1
At high temperatures there is a tendency for glasses to change shape into a
sphere. The surface energy of a glass at 650°C is 0.3 J.m-2. If the glass
changes, from a cylinder of length 100 mm and diameter 20μm, into a sphere,
find the energy released.

Answer T1
First find the radius of a sphere with the same volume as the cylinder.

Note: Thanks to Dongfang-Liu for picking up a problem with the above image. 1
Feb 2017.

Now compare the surface areas of the two shapes.


The sphere has a smaller area so surface energy is released.

Surface Energy and Temperature

In the bulk, atoms are evenly surrounded and the


cohesive forces between the atoms tend to balance.

On the surface there are atoms on one side only, so


there is a net inward cohesive force. This creates a
force on the surface that tries to minimise its area.
When considered as a force rather than an energy,
the force is called "surface tension".

As temperature increases, the atoms in a solid vibrate more, and reduce the
cohesive force binding the atoms.
The surface energy depends on the net inward cohesive force and so surface
energy decreases with increasing temperature.
The surface energy for many metals (e.g. Ag, Au, and Cu) goes down by about
0.5 mJ.m2.K-1 with increasing temperature.
Water goes down by about 160 mJ.m2.K-1.

Surface Energy and Contamination


Contaminant molecules adhere to the surface ("like"
cohere and "unlike" adhere).

The contaminant molecules thus change the balance


of forces and reduce the net inward force. Since the
net inward force is related to the surface energy,
the surface energy is reduced by contaminants.

Measuring the surface energy of solids

• Fracture method:

A crack is opened up by forces pulling the edges


apart.
A "double cantilever" forms. The work done by the
applied force is equal to the potential energy of the
"leaf springs" and the surface energy. Solving for
the surface energy (eventually) gives:

Measuring Young's modulus, E, and the


lengths x, y and d, will give T. /td>

• Indentation method:
With small specimens an indentation method is
used.

A diamond point is forced into the surface and


microcracks appear at the sharp edges.

It can be shown (but not in this course) that the


surface energy is given by:

Measuring the lengths, a, and c, and the indenting


force, F, will give the surface energy.

Example T2
A razor blade inserted into the edge of a thin sheet of mica in high
vacuum drives a crack to an equilibrium length along the central cleavage plane
parallel to the sheet faces. The surface energy is measured as 5.0 J.m-2. When
air is let in, then the crack length increases 1.9 times. Find the surface energy
of mica in air.

Answer T2
From the fracture method:
Air molecules have adhered to the new surfaces and reduced the net inward
force thus reducing the surface energy.

Surface Tension

In dealing with liquids, it is more usual to use the idea of Surface Tension rather
than Surface energy, even though they refer to the same dimensional quantity.
This is shown in the following dimensional analysis.

The net inward force on the surface of a liquid makes the surface act as if it was
an elastic skin that constantly tries to decrease its area.

, acts in the surface and normal to an imaginary line in


the surface.

• Measuring Surface tension


To measure surface tension, the "wire
frame" method is often used. A
rectangular wire frame is suspended into a
liquid and pulled upwards with force, F, to
balance the downward force of surface
tension, T.

Make the applied upward force, F up,

balance the surface tension


force, from the two surfaces
clinging to the top of the frame.

Surface tensions for some liquids in contact with air.

Liquid Surface Tension Temperature °C

Neon 5.2 mN.m-1 -247

Oxygen 15.7 mN.m-1 -193

Ethyl alcohol 22.3 mN.m-1 20

Olive Oil 32.0 mN.m-1 20

Water 58.9 mN.m-1 100

66.2 mN.m-1 60

72.8 mN.m-1 20

75.6 mN.m-1 0

Mercury 465. mN.m-1 20

Silver 800. mN.m-1 970

Gold 1.0 N.m-1 1070


Copper 1.1 N.m-1 1130

Angle of contact

For a solid/liquid/gas interface, the adhesion


between the liquid and the solid will curve the liquid
surface to form a meniscus (Greek word for
"crescent").

The angle of contact is always measured through


the liquid.

The forces act along the interfaces, as shown.

FSG is the upward force between the solid and the


gas.
FSL is the downward force between the solid and the
liquid.
FLG is the inclined force between the liquid and the
gas.

Resolving the vertical forces, with the proviso that


the force between solid and gas, FSG is much smaller
than the other two forces:

When FSL and FLG are in the same direction:


• cosα is positive i.e. α is less than 90°

• the meniscus is positive, and


• the liquid "wets" the surface.
When FSL and FLG are in the opposite direction:
• cosα is negative i.e. α is greater than 90°

• the meniscus is negative, and


• the liquid does not "wet" the surface.

Contact angles for some interfaces

most organic liquids - glass 0° - 10°

mercury - copper 0°

pure water - glass 0°

water - glass 20°

kerosene - glass 26°

water - silver 90°

water - parafin 106°

mercury - glass 148°

Capillary Action
As a result of surface tension acting around
the inner circumference of a small-bore
tube (or capillary), that is partially
immersed in a liquid, there will be a raised
or depressed column of liquid inside it.

The case of a raised column is shown on


the right.

The upward component of the surface


tension force will balance the weight of the
liquid column.

From this, the height of the column can be


calculated.

The same maths applies if α is greater than 90° but there is a depressed
column.

Example T3
A capillary tube with an inside diameter of 250 μm can support a 100mm
column of liquid that has a density of 930 kg.m-3. The observed contact angle is
15°. Find the surface tension of the liquid.

Answer T3
Pressure difference for a gas bubble in a liquid

A gas bubble in a liquid has two balancing


forces that determine its size.

These are the outward force from internal


gas pressure, and the inward force from
surface tension trying to reduce the
surface area.

Changing to energy, and using


(force)×(distance) = (pressure)×(volume)

The surface energy of the gas bubble is


due to the difference between the bubble
filled with gas and the bubble filled with
liquid.

Divide top and bottom by the radius.


How the volume and surface area change
with radius is now calculated.

The final result is that the pressure


difference between the inner gas and the
outer liquid is directly proportional to the
surface tension and inversely proportional
to the radius of the bubble.

What happens as a bubble rises and the outer liquid pressure decreases?

Laplace's law (Pressure difference across a tube of liquid)

For a cylinder of radius R and length


such as a blood vessel, the wall supplies
an inward force and the liquid supplies an
outward pressure.

The volume and surface area of the


cylinder are given by:
This gives:

There is a greater pressure difference for a smaller radius than a larger one.
This inverse relationship is called Laplace's law. Note that if the outside
pressure decreases, the inside pressure also decreases so the radius increases
as expected.

Example T4
A bubble of air has a diameter of 1mm when it is 0.5m under the surface of
water (surface tension 73 mN.m-1). Find the gauge pressure inside the bubble.

Answer T4
Example T5
A soap bubble in air (two surfaces) has surface tension 0.03 N.m-1. Find the
gauge pressure inside a bubble of diameter 30mm.

Answer T5

Summarising:

Surface energy is the work per unit area done by the force that creates the new
surface.
Roughly, surface energy varies inversely with the tendency to brittle failure.
The surface energy decreases with increasing temperature.
Contaminants on the surface reduce the net inward force and decrease surface
energy.

The surface energy of solids can be measured by fracture and indentation


techniques.
The surface tension in liquids can be measured by using wire frames.
The angle of contact is the angle through the liquid to the solid.
Capillary action can support a column of liquid to a height (or depth) given

by: .
The size of bubbles is a balance between excess pressure and surface tension.

For a single spherical surface:

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……………………………………………………………………….

Surface Tension

Home -> Lecture Notes -> Fluid Mechanics -> Unit-I

A molecule I in the
interior of a liquid is
under attractive forces
in all directions and the
vector sum of these
forces is zero. But a
molecule S at the
surface of a liquid is
acted by a net inward
cohesive force that is
perpendicular to the
surface. Hence it
requires work to move
molecules to the
surface against this opposing force, and surface molecules have
more energy than interior ones.

The surface tension ( sigma) of a liquid is the work that must be


done to bring enough molecules from inside the liquid to the
surface to form one new unit area of that surface (J/m2 = N/m).
Historically surface tensions have been reported in handbooks in
dynes per centimeter (1 dyn/cm = 0.001 N/m).

Surface tension is the tendency of the surface of a liquid to behave


like a stretched elastic membrane. There is a natural tendency for
liquids to minimize their surface area. For this reason, drops of
liquid tend to take a spherical shape in order to minimize surface
area. For such a small droplet, surface tension will cause an
increase of internal pressure p in order to balance the surface
force.

We will find the amount  (p = p - poutside)


by which the pressure inside a liquid
droplet of radius r, exceeds the pressure of
the surrounding vapor/air by making force
balances on a hemispherical drop. Observe
that the internal pressure p is trying to
blow apart the two hemispheres, whereas
the surface tension  is trying to pull them
together. Therefore, p r2 = 2r
i.e. p = 2/r

Similar force balances can be made for


cylindrical liquid jet.
p 2r= 2
i.e. p = /r

Similar treatment can be


made for a soap bubble
which is having two free
surfaces. p r = 2 x 2r
2

i.e. p = 4/r

Surface tension generally appears only in situations


involving either free surfaces (liquid/gas or
liquid/solid boundaries) or interfaces (liquid/liquid
boundaries); in the latter case, it is usually called the interfacial
tension.

Representative values for the surface tensions of liquids at 20oC, in


contact either with air or their vapor (there is usually little
difference between the two), are given in Table.

Surface Tension
Liquid
 dyne/cm

Benzene 23.70
Benzene 28.85

Ethanol 22.75

Glycerol 63.40

Mercury 435.50

Methanol 22.61

n-Octane 21.78

Water 72.75

……………………………………………………………………
Surface tension

Wikipedia open wikipedia design.

Continuum mechanics

Laws

Conservations
 Energy

 Mass

 Momentum

Inequalities
 Clausius–Duhem (entropy)
Solid mechanics

 Stress

 Deformation

 Compatibility
 Finite strain

 Infinitesimal strain
 Elasticity (linear)

 Plasticity

 Bending
 Hooke's law

 Material failure theory


 Fracture mechanics

 Contact mechanics (frictional)

Fluid mechanics
Fluids
 Statics · Dynamics
 Archimedes' principle · Bernoulli's principle
 Navier–Stokes equations
 Poiseuille equation · Pascal's law
 Viscosity (Newtonian · non-Newtonian)
 Buoyancy · Mixing · Pressure

Liquids
 Surface tension

 Capillary action

Gases
 Atmosphere

 Boyle's law

 Charles's law
 Gay-Lussac's law

 Combined gas law

Plasma

Rheology
 Viscoelasticity

 Rheometry

 Rheometer

Smart fluids
 Magnetorheological

 Electrorheological
 Ferrofluids

Scientists
 Bernoulli

 Boyle
 Cauchy

 Charles

 Euler

 Gay-Lussac

 Hooke

 Pascal

 Newton
 Navier

 Stokes

 v
 t
 e

Surface tension is an effect where the surface of a liquid is strong. The surface can
hold up a weight, and the surface of a water droplet holds the droplet together, in a ball
shape. Some small things can float on a surface because of surface tension, even
though they normally could not float. Some insects (e.g. water striders) can run on the
surface of water because of this. This property is caused by the molecules in the liquid
being attracted to each other (cohesion), and is responsible for many of the behaviors of
liquids.

Surface tension has the dimension of force per unit length, or of energy per unit area.
The two are equivalent—but when referring to energy per unit of area, people use the
term surface energy—which is a more general term in the sense that it applies also
to solids and not just liquids.

In materials science, surface tension is used for either surface stressor surface free
energy.

Causes

Diagram of the forces on molecules in liquid

Surface tension prevents the paper clip from submerging.

The cohesive forces among the liquid molecules cause surface tension. In the bulk of
the liquid, each molecule is pulled equally in every direction by neighboring liquid
molecules, resulting in a net force of zero. The molecules at the surface do not have
other molecules on all sides of them and therefore are pulled inwards. This creates
some internal pressure and forces liquid surfaces to contract to the minimal area.

Surface tension is responsible for the shape of liquid droplets. Although easily
deformed, droplets of water tend to be pulled into a spherical shape by the cohesive
forces of the surface layer. In the absence of other forces, including gravity, drops of
virtually all liquids would be perfectly spherical. The spherical shape minimizes the
necessary "wall tension" of the surface layer according to Laplace's law.

Another way to view it is in terms of energy. A molecule in contact with a neighbor is in


a lower state of energy than if it were alone (not in contact with a neighbor). The interior
molecules have as many neighbors as they can possibly have, but the boundary
molecules are missing neighbors (compared to interior molecules). So, the boundary
molecules have a higher energy. For the liquid to minimize its energy state, the number
of higher energy boundary molecules must be minimized. The minimized quantity of
boundary molecules results in a minimized surface area.[1]

As a result of surface area minimization, a surface will assume the smoothest shape it
can.[note 1] Any curvature in the surface shape results in greater area and a higher energy.
So, the surface will push back against any curvature in much the same way as a ball
pushed uphill will push back to minimize its gravitational potential energy.

Effects in everyday life

Water

Studying water shows several effects of surface tension:

A. Rain water forms beads on the surface of a waxy surface, such as a leaf. Water
adheres weakly to wax and strongly to itself, so water clusters into drops. Surface
tension gives them their near-spherical shape, because a sphere has the smallest
possible surface area to volume ratio.

B. Formation of drops occurs when a mass of liquid is stretched. The animation shows
water adhering to the faucet gaining mass until it is stretched to a point where the
surface tension can no longer bind it to the faucet. It then separates and surface tension
forms the drop into a sphere. If a stream of water were running from the faucet, the
stream would break up into drops during its fall. Gravity stretches the stream, then
surface tension pinches it into spheres.[2]

C. Objects denser than water still float when the object is nonwettable and its weight is
small enough to be borne by the forces arising from surface tension.[1] For
example, water striders use surface tension to walk on the surface of a pond. The
surface of the water behaves like an elastic film: the insect's feet cause indentations in
the water's surface, increasing its surface area.[3]
D. Separation of oil and water (in this case, water and liquid wax) is caused by a tension
in the surface between dissimilar liquids. This type of surface tension is called "interface
tension", but its physics are the same.

E. Tears of wine is the formation of drops and rivulets on the side of a glass containing
an alcoholic beverage. Its cause is a complex interaction between the differing surface
tensions of water and ethanol. It is induced by a combination of surface tension
modification of water by ethanol together with ethanol evaporating faster than water.

A. Water beading on a leaf

B. Water dripping from a tap

C. Water striders stay atop the liquid because of surface tension


D. Lava lamp with interaction between dissimilar liquids; water and liquid wax

E. Photo showing the "tears of wine" phenomenon.

Surfactants

Surface tension is visible in other common phenomena, especially when surfactants are
used to decrease it:

 Soap bubbles have very large surface areas with very little mass. Bubbles in pure water are
unstable. The addition of surfactants, however, can have a stabilizing effect on the bubbles
(see Marangoni effect). Notice that surfactants actually reduce the surface tension of water by a
factor of three or more.
 Emulsions are a type of solution in which surface tension plays a role. Tiny fragments of oil
suspended in pure water will spontaneously assemble themselves into much larger masses. But
the presence of a surfactant provides a decrease in surface tension, which permits stability of
minute droplets of oil in the bulk of water (or vice versa).

Basic physics

Two definitions
Diagram shows, in cross-section, a needle floating on the surface of water. Its
weight, Fw, depresses the surface, and is balanced by the surface tension
forces on either side, Fs, which are each parallel to the water's surface at the
points where it contacts the needle. Notice that the horizontal components of
the two Fsarrows point in opposite directions, so they cancel each other, but
the vertical components point in the same direction and therefore add up[1] to
balance Fw.

Surface tension, represented by the symbol γ is defined as the force along a line of unit
length, where the force is parallel to the surface but perpendicular to the line. One way
to picture this is to imagine a flat soap film bounded on one side by a taut thread of
length, L. The thread will be pulled toward the interior of the film by a force equal to 2

L (the factor of 2 is because the soap film has two sides, hence two
surfaces).[4] Surface tension is therefore measured in forces per unit length. Its SI unit
is newtonper meter but the cgs unit of dyne per cm is also used.[5]One dyn/cm
corresponds to 0.001 N/m.

An equivalent definition, one that is useful in thermodynamics, is work done per unit
area. As such, in order to increase the surface area of a mass of liquid by an

amount, δA, a quantity of work, δA, is needed.[4] This work is stored as potential
energy. Consequently surface tension can be also measured in SI system as joules per
square meter and in the cgs system as ergs per cm2. Since mechanical systems try to
find a state of minimum potential energy, a free droplet of liquid naturally assumes a
spherical shape, which has the minimum surface area for a given volume.

The equivalence of measurement of energy per unit area to force per unit length can be
proven by dimensional analysis.[4]

………………………………………………………………………………….
Surface Tension

Table of Content
How do Detergents Clean Dirty Clothes?
o Properties of Surface Tension
o Surface Energy
Simulation for Size of Bubble as a Comparison With Depth
o Force Approach
Angle of Contact
o Case I: When q < 90o
o Case II: When q > 90o
o Capillarity
Rise of Liquid in a tube of Insufficient Length
Energy Required to Raise a Liquid in a Capillary tube
Stokes' Law and Terminal Velocity
Related Resources

“Surface tension is the property of a liquid by virtue of


which its free surface behaves like a stretched membrane and supports,
comparatively heavier objects placed over it”. It is measured in terms of force of
surface tension.
The free surface of a liquid contracts so that its exposed surface area is a minimum, i.e., it
behaves as if it were under tension, somewhat like a stretched elastic membrane. This
property is known as surface tension. The surface tension of a liquid varies with
temperature as well as dissolved impurities, etc. When soap is mixed with water, the
surface tension of water decreases. Also, the surface tension decreases with increase in
temperature.
How do Detergents Clean Dirty
Clothes?
Consider a wire frame (see the adjacent figure) equipped with a sliding wire AB. It is dipped
in a soapy water. A film of liquid is formed on it. A force F has to be applied to hold the wire
in place. Since the soap film has two surfaces attached to the wire, the total length of the
film in contact with the wire is 2L.

T (surface tension) = F/2L.

Surface tension of a liquid is measured by the normal force acting per unit length. On either
side of an imaginary line drawn on the free surface of a liquid, the direction of this force is
perpendicular to the line and tangential to the free surface of liquid.
Properties of Surface Tension
 Scalar quantity.
 Temperature sensitive.
 Impurity sensitive.
 Depends only n the nature of the liquid.
 Unit of surface tension, N/m.
 Dimension of surface tension, ML0T-2.
Surface Energy
If the area of the liquid surface has to be increased, work has to be done against the force
of surface tension. The work done to from a film is stored as potential energy in the surface
and the amount of this energy per unit area of this surface under isothermal condition is the
"intrinsic surface energy" or free surface energy density.
Work done in small displacement dx
dW = F × dx = 2TL dx

= 2TLx = TA
As A = 2Lx (area of both sides),
W/A = T (intrinsic surface energy)
Question:-
What is the surface energy of a soap bubble of radius r?
Answer:-
E = TA = T × 4Πr2 × 2 (as it has two surfaces)
= 8Πr2 T.
_________________________________________________________________________
____________________
Question:-
What is the surface energy of an air bubble inside a soap solution?
Answer:-
E = T × A = 4Πr2T, as it has only one surface
Excess Pressure
The pressure inside a soap bubble and that outside it are not identical due to surface
tension of the soap bubble. To calculate this pressure difference, let's first consider an air
bubble inside a liquid. If the pressure difference is Δp, then the work done to increase the
radius of the bubble from r to
(r + Δr) is given by:
W = FΔr = 4Πr2 Δp Δr
Change in area
ΔS = 4Π (r + Δr)2 - 4Πr2 = 8ΠrΔr.
From the definition of surface tension
T = W/ΔS = (4Πr2 Δp Δr)/(8ΠrΔr) or Δp = 2T/r
For a soap bubble in air, there are two surfaces.
So, Δp = 2 × 2T/r = 4T/r
Simulation for Size of Bubble as a
Comparison With Depth
Bubble bubble boil and trouble. This animaition is used to show size as a comparison with
depth. The user move the bubble around while making observations of size versus depth.
Then the student can make inferences as to why they get this behavior.
Force Approach
Consider the equilibrium of a hemispherical portion of a liquid bubble of radius R and
surface tension T as shown in the figure. For the equilibrium of the liquid bubble.

F0 - Fi + FT = 0 = 0 where F0 = force due to the outside pressure.


Fi = force due to the inside pressure
FT = force due to the surface tension
P0ΠR2 - PiΠR2 + 2(2ΠRT) = 0
=> Pi - P0 = 4T/R
where R is the radius of the bubble.
Two soap bubbles of different radii (r, R: r < R) are connected by means of a tube. What will
happen to the larger bubble?

Angle of Contact
1. Angle of contact, for a solid and a liquid, is defined as the angle between tangent to the
liquid surface drawn at the point of contact and the solid surface inside the liquid.
2. The angle of contact of a liquid surface on a solid surface depends on the nature of the
liquid and the solid.
Case I: When q < 90o
The liquid surface curves up towards the solid. This happens when the force of cohesion
between two liquid molecules is less than force of adhesion between the liquid and the
solid. If such a liquid is poured into a solid tube, it will have a concave meniscus. For
example, a glass rod dipped in water or water inside a glass tube.
Case II: When q > 90o
The liquid surfaces get curved downward in contact with a solid. In this case, the force of
cohesion is greater than the force of adhesion. In such cases, solids do not get "wet". When
such liquids are put into a solid tube, a convex meniscus is obtained.
For example, a glass rod dipped in mercury or mercury within a solid glass tube.
Capillarity
When a piece of chalk is dipped into water, it is observed that water rises through the pores
of the chalk and wets it.
Consider a glass capillary of radius R dipped in water as shown in the figure. The pressure
below the meniscus will be (p0 - 2T/r). To compensate for this pressure difference, water in
the capillary rises so that
2T/r = rgh or h = 2T/rgρ
where r in the radius of meniscus,
r = R/cos θ
where q is the angle of contact.
Thus,

If q < 90o, the meniscus will be concave, for illustration: at a water-glass interface.
If q < 90o, the meniscus will be convex, for illustration: at a mercury-glass interface.
Rise of Liquid in a tube of
Insufficient Length
We have seen, how a liquid rises up into a capillary tube, dipped into it, until the weight of
the liquid in the tube is just balanced by the force due to its surface tension. If q be the
angle of contact between the liquid and the tube, and R, the radius of liquid meniscus in the
tube, we have r = R cos q, where r is the radius of the tube; so that above relation now
becomes,

T = (Rcos θ.hρ.g)/(2 cos θ )=(R.h.ρ.g)/2


where h is the height of the liquid column in the tube
Here, clearly
R.h = 2T/ρg, a constant
Now with the tube sufficiently longer than h, it is the value of h alone that changes to satisfy
the above relation for T. But if the tube be smaller than the calculated value of h, the only
variable in the above relation is R, because now h = l, the length of the tube (a constant)
and so is q a constant for the given liquid and the tube. The liquid thus just spreads over the
walls of the tube at the top and its meniscus acquires a new radius of curvature R', such
that R'l = 2T/ρg, or that R'l = R.h = a constant. And since l is smaller than R' > R, i.e., the
meniscus becomes less curved.
Energy Required to Raise a Liquid in
a Capillary tube
We have seen above how when a capillary tube is dipped vertically into a liquid which wets
the walls of the tube, there is rise of the liquid inside the tube. Due to the rise, the liquid,
gains in potential energy. The question, therefore arises as to where does it get this
increase in its potential energy from. The explanation is, however, simple.
We have three surface of separation to consider when a capillary tube is immersed in a
liquid viz., (i) an air-liquid surface (ii) an air-glass surface and (iii) a glass-liquid surface each
having its own surface tension, difference from the others, and equal to its free surface
energy per unit area.
Now, as the plane liquid surface in the tube acquires a curvature, (i.e. become concave),
the air-liquid surface increases and, as the liquid rises in the tube, the glass-liquid surface
increases, the air-glass surface decreasing by an equal amount. Thus, the surface energy
of the air-liquid and the
glass-liquid surface increases while that of the air-glass surface decreases by the same
amount. In other words, the energy required to raise the liquid in the capillary tube is
obtained from the surface energy of the air-glass surface.
On the other hand, a liquid, which does not wet the walls of the tube, get depressed inside
it, below its level outside the tube. In this case, obviously the glass-liquid surface decreases,
whereas the air-glass surface increases by an equal amount, resulting in a net increase in
the surface energy of the whole system. This energy is derived from the depression of the
liquid inside the tube, whose gravitational potential energy is thus decreased by an equal
amount.
Refer this video for better understanding about
surface tension:-
Problem 1 :-
A meniscus drop of radius 1 cm is sprayed into 106 droplets of equal size. Calculate the
energy expended if surface tension of mercury is 435 × 10-3 N/m.
Solution:-
Energy expended will be the work done against the increase in surface area, i.e.
n(4Πr2) -4ΠR2
E = W = T DS
= T.4Π (nr2 - R2)
But the total volume remains constant
i.e. 4/3 ΠR3 = n 4/3 Πr3 or r = R/(n)1/3
=> E = 4 ΠR T (n - 1) = 4 × 3.14 × (1 × 10-2)2 × 435 × 10-3(102- 1)
2 1/3

= 54.1 × 10-3 J.
Problem 2 :-
If a number of little droplets of water, all of the same radius, coalesce to form a single drop
of radius R, show that the rise in temperature of water will be given by θ = 3T/J (1/r - 1/R) ×
10-3 where T is the surface tension of water and J, the mechanical equivalent of heat. (in
Joule per calorie)
Solution:-
Le the number of little droplets be n and the radius of each droplet r. Then the surface area
of all the droplets = n4Πr2 and surface area of the single drop formed by their coalescing
together = 4ΠR2.
And therefore, decrease in surface area = n4Πr2 - 4ΠR2 and
=> decrease in surface energy = (n.4Πr2 - 4ΠR2)
Hence, heat produced = (n.4Πr2 - 4ΠR2) T/J
This heat is obviously taken up by the single drop formed of volume 4/3 ΠR3 and hence of
mass 4/3 ΠR3 × 1 taking density of water to be 1000 kg/m3
If therefore, θoC be the rise in temperature, we have
(4/3 ΠR3 × 1) × 1000 × θ = (n.4Πr2 - 4ΠR2)T/J
or, θ = 3T/J (nr3/R3 -1/R) × 10-3
Now, volume of the single drop = volume of n droplets
i.e., 4/3 ΠR3 = n.4/3 r3, where R3 = nr3
so that, θ = 3T/J (1/r - 1/R) × 10-3 [substituting the value of R3]
Viscosity:-
When a fluid such that a velocity gradient is set up within it, forces act within the fluid so as
to prevent the velocity gradient from existing. This force is due to a property called viscosity.
Suppose that a glass plate in contact with a water column of height h is moved with
constant velocity v. Forces of viscosity appear between the solid surface and the layer in
contact.
i.e. F = ηA dv/dx.
where h is a constant called co-efficient of viscosity. The CGS unit of coefficient of viscosity
y is poise, its dimension is ML-1T-1. The SI units of viscosity equal 10 poise.
Problem 3 :-
A metal plate 0.04 m2 in area is lying on a liquid layer of thickness
10-3 m and co-efficient of viscosity 140 poise. Calculate the horizontal force needed to move
the plate with a speed of 0.040 m/s.
Solution:-
Area of the plate, A = 0.04 m2
Thickness,Δx = 10-3 m
Δx is the distance of the free surface with respect to the fixed surface
Velocity gradient, Δv/Δx = 22.4 N
Problem 4(JEE Main) :-
A small air bubble of radius r in water is at a depth h below the water surface. If P is
atmospheric pressure, d and T are density and surface tension of water respectively, the
pressure inside the bubble will be,
(a) P+hdg – (4T/r) (b) P+hdg+(2T/r)
(c) P+hdg – (2T/r) (d) P+hdg+(4T/r)
Solution:-
Pin – Pout = 2T/r
So, Pin = Pout + (2T/r)
= (P+hdg)+(2T/r)
From the above observation we conclude that, option (b) is correct.
Stokes' Law and Terminal Velocity
When a smooth sphere of radius r moves with a velocity v through a fluid of viscosity η , the
viscous force opposing the motion of the sphere is
F = 6Πηrv
If, for a sphere, viscous force becomes equal to the net weight acting downward, the
velocity of the body becomes constant and is known as termination velocity.
6ΠηrvT = 4/3 Πr3 (ρ - σ)g
So,

 Surface tension is the name of a property of liquid while force of surface tension is different from it.
 For a solid-liquid pair having acute (<90º) angle of contact,
(a) the liquid wets the solids.
(b) shape of meniscus is concave upwards.
(c) liquid rises up into a capillary tube made of that solid.
 For a solid-liquid pair having obtuse (>90º) angle of contact,
(a) the liquid does not wet the solids.
(b) shape of meniscus is convex upwards.
(c) the liquid is depressed in a capillary tube made of that solid.

Problem 5 (JEE Main):-


The radii of the two columns is U-tube are r1 and r2. When a liquid of density ρ (angle of
contact is 0º) is filled in it, the level difference of liquid in two arms is h. Find out the surface
tension of liquid.
Solution:-
We know that, h = 2T/rρg
So, h1 = 2T/r1ρg
h2 = 2T/r2ρg
h1- h2 = h = 2T/ρg(1/r1 – 1/r2)
Thus, T = hρgr1r2/2(r2 - r1)
Problem 6 (JEE Main):-
A metal ball A (density 3.2 g/cc) is dropped in water, while another metal ball B (density 6.0
g/cc) is dropped in a liquid of density 1.6 g/cc. If both the balls have the same diameter and
attain the same terminal velocity, find out the ratio of viscosity of water to that of the liquid.
Solution:-
Terminal velocity is given by,
vT = 2/9 [r2(ρ1 - ρ2)/η]g
(vT)A = 2/9 [r2(32 - 1)/ηw]g
(vT)B = 2/9 [r2(6.0 - 1.6)/ηl]g
Given, (vT)A = (vT)B
Equating these two we get, ηw/ηl = 0.5

Question 1 :-
Two molecules are separated an appreciable distance apart. What is the nature of the force
between them:
(a) attractive (b) repulsive
(c) both attractive and repulsive (d) none of them
Question 2 :-
The force of surface tension acts in such a direction that the curvature of the surface
should:
(a) increase (b) decrease
(c) remain the same (d) none of these
Question 3 :-
When the temperature is increased, the angle of contact of a liquid:
(a) first increases and then decreases (b) decreases
(c) remains the same (d) increases
Question 4:-
When a capillary tube is dipped in a liquid, the level of the liquid inside the tube rises
because of:
(a) viscosity (b) surface tension
(c) osmosis (d) diffusion

Q Q Q Q
. . . .
1 2 3 4
a a d b
Related Resources
 You might like to refer Solved Examples on Fluid Mechanics.
 For getting an idea of the type of questions asked, refer the Previous Year Question
Papers.
 Click here to refer the most Useful Books of Physics.
 To get answer to any question related to surface tension click here.

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Solved Examples on Fluid
Mechanics
Problem 1:-

The tension in a string holding a solid block below the surface of a liquid (of density greater
than the solid) is T0 when the containing vessel (see below figure) is at rest. Show that the
tension T, when the vessel has an upward vertical acceleration a, is given by T0 (1+a/g).
Concept:-
The various forces acting on the block when it is inside the water are the weight, the
buoyant force and the tension in the string. When the vessel is at rest, there is no net force
acting on the block. The sum of the three forces is equal to zero when the vessel is at rest.
When the vessel moves upward with an acceleration, the buoyant force and the tension in
the string will be differ. There is a net force acting vessel. Thus, the sum of the three forces
is equal to the net force acting on the block.
Solution:-
The weight of the block having mass m which is acting downward is
W = mg
Here,
Acceleration due to gravity at the point of observation is g.
The magnitude of the buoyant which acts upwards is
Fb = Vρg
Here,
Volume of the water displaced by the block is V
Density of the water is ρ.
The various forces acting on the block which is placed inside the vessel is shown below:

As the vessel is rest, the three forces are in equilibrium. Thus, the sum of the three forces is
equal to zero.
Thus,
ΣF = 0
This makes
W – Fb – T0 = 0
Here,
Tension in the string when the vessel is at rest is T0.
Insert the values of the various terms involved in the above equation gives
Fb – W – T0 = 0
Vρg – mg – T0 = 0
So, T0 = Vρg – mg
This represents the tension in the string when the vessel is at rest.
When the vessel is moving with an upward vertical acceleration a, there is net forces acting
on the block. So, there is change in the buoyant force and the tension in the string.
The figure which shows the forces acting on the block when the vessel is accelerating
upward is

The buoyant forces acting on the block is


Fb,a = Vρ (g+a)
Thus, the net forces is given as
ΣF = ma
It is equal to the sum of the buoyant force, the weight of the block and tension (T).
Thus,
Fb,a – W -T = Ma
Substitute the values of Fb,a and W in the above equation gives
Fb,a – W – T = ma
Vρ (g+a) – mg – T = ma
So, T = Vρa +Vρg – mg – ma
To obtain the tension in the string, substitute T0 = Vρg – mg in the above equation
T = Vρg – mg + Vρa – ma = T0 + a (Vρ – m)
Dividing both numerator and denominator in the second part in the right hand side of the
equation by g gives
T = T0 + [a/g (Vρg – mg)]
= T0 +[(a/g) T0] = T0 (1+a/g)
This represents the tension in the string when the vessel is accelerating upward.
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________
Problem 2:-

A cubic object of dimensions L = 0.608 m on a side and weight W = 4450 N in a vacuum is


suspended by a wire in an open tank of liquid of density ρ = 944 kg/m3, as shown in below
figure.
(a) Find the total downward force exerted by the liquid and the atmosphere on the top of the
object. (b) Find the total upward force on the bottom of the object. (c) Find the tension in
the wire. (d) Calculate the buoyant force on the object using Archimedes principle. What
relation exists among all these quantities?
Concept:-
The pressure acting on the top of the object is
pT = p0 +ρg (L/2)
Here, atmospheric pressure is p0, density of the liquid is ρ, acceleration due to gravity is
g and length of the side of the object is L.
The total downward force exerted by the liquid and the atmosphere on the top of the object
is equal to pressure times the surface area of the object.
Thus,
FT = pTL2 = [p0 + ρg (L/2)] L2
The pressure acting on the bottom of the object is
pB = p0 +ρg (3L/2)
The total upward force acting on the object is
FB = pB L2 = [p0 +ρg (3L/2)]L2
According to Archimedes’ principle the buoyant force acting on the object is
FBuoyant = L3ρg
The tension in the wire is
T = W – FT + FB
Here, weight of the object is W.
Solution:-
(a) One atmospheric pressure is equal to 1.01×105 Pa
To obtain the force acting on the bottom of the object, substitute 1.01×105 Pa for p0, 944
kg/m3 for ρ , 9.81 m/s2 for g and 0.608 m for L in the equation FT = [p0 + ρg (L/2)]L2,
FT = [p0 + ρg (L/2)]L2
= [1.01×105 Pa + (944 kg/m3) ( 9.81 m/s2) (0.608 m/2)] (0.608 m)2
= (3.8376×104 kg.m/s2) [1 N/(1 kg.m/s2)] = 3.8376×104 N
Rounding off to three significant figures, the total downward force exerted by the liquid on
the object is 3.8376×104 N.
(b) To obtain the total downward force exerted by the liquid, substitute 1.01×105 Pa for
p0, 944 kg/m3 for ρ, 9.81 m/s2 for g , and 0.608 m for L in the equation FB = [p0 +ρg (3L/2)]L2,
FB = [p0 +ρg (3L/2)]L2
= [1.01×105 Pa + (944 kg/m3) ( 9.81 m/s2) (3(0.608 m)/2)] (0.608 m)2
= (4.0455×104 kg.m/s2) [1 N/(1 kg.m/s2)] = 4.0455×104 N
Rounding off to three significant figures, the total downward force exerted by the liquid on
the object is 4.0455×104 N.
(c) To obtain the buoyant force acting on the object, substitute 0.608 m for L, 944
kg/m3 for ρ, 9.81 m/s2 for g in the equation FBuoyant = L3ρg,
FBuoyant = L3ρg
= (0.608 m)3 (944 kg/m3) (9.81 m/s2)
= (2.0793×103 kg.m/s2) [1 N/(1 kg.m/s2)] = 2.0793×103 N
Rounding off to three significant figures, the buoyant force acting on the object due to the
liquid is 2.08×103 N .
(d) The various force acting on the object in the liquid is shown below:
To obtain the tension in the wire, substitute 4450 N for W, 3.84×104 N for FT and
4.05×104 N for FB in the equation T = W – FT + FB,
T = W – FT + FB
= 4450 N – 3.84×104 N + 4.05×104 N = 2350 N
Rounding off to three significant figures, the tension in the wire is 2350 N.
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________
Problem 3:-
A cylindrical barrel has a narrow tube fixed to the top, as shown with dimensions in below
figure. The vessel is filled with water to the top of the tube. Calculate the ratio of the
hydrostatic force exerted on the bottom of the barrel to the weight of the water contained
inside. Why is the ratio not equal to one? (Ignore the presence of the atmosphere.)
Concept:-
The pressure at the bottom of the cylindrical barrel is
p = ρgh
Here, density of the liquid is ρ, acceleration due to gravity is g and height of the cylindrical
barrel is h.
The hydrostatic force acting at the bottom of the barrel is
F = PA
Here, surface area of the barrel at the bottom is A.
The weight of the liquid is
W = ρgV
Here, total volume of the cylindrical barrel is V.
Solution:-
Now, the total height of the cylindrical barrel is
h = 1.8 m + 1.8 m
From above figure, substitute 3.6 m for h in the equation p = ρgh gives,
p = ρgh = ρg (3.6 m)
This gives the pressure at the bottom of the barrel.
The volume of the thin barrel at the top is
V1 = (4.6 cm2) (1.8 m)
= (4.6 cm2) (10-2 m/1 cm)2 (1.8 m) = 8.24×10-4 m3
The radius of the barrel at the lower part is
r = 1.2 m/2 = 0.6 m
The volume of the barrel at the lower part is
V2 = πr2 (1.8 m)
= (3.14) (0.6 m)2 (1.8 m) = 2.03472 m3
Now, the total volume of the cylindrical barrel is
V = V1 + V2
= 8.24×10-4 m3 + 2.03472 m3 = 2.035548 m3
The surface area of the barrel at the bottom is
A = πr2 = (3.14) (0.6 m)2 = 1.1304 m2
To obtain the hydrostatic force exerted by the liquid at the bottom, substitute ρg (3.6 m) for
p and 1.1304 m2 for A in the equation F = pA gives,
F = pA
= ρg (3.6 m) (1.1304 m2) = ρg (4.06944 m3)
To obtain the weight of the liquid in the cylindrical barrel, substitute 2.035548 m3 for V in the
equation W = ρgV gives,
W = ρgV = ρg ( 2.035548 m3)
Now, the ratio of the hydrostatic force to the weight of the liquid is
F/W = [ρg (4.06944 m3)]/[ρg ( 2.035548 m3)] = 1.9992
Rounding off to two significant figures, the ratio of the hydrostatic force to the weight of the
liquid is 2.0.
The hydrostatic pressure is depending on the height of the liquid column. So, the same
amount of liquid when taken in different volume of containers having different heights will
not be the same. Weight is the volume times the density of the liquid. Therefore, the ratio is
not equal to one.
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________
Problem 4:-
The Goodyear blimp Columbia as shown in below figure is cruising slowly at low altitude,
filled as usual with helium gas. Its maximum useful payload, including crew and cargo, is
1280 kg. How much more payload could the Columbia carry if you replaced the helium with
hydrogen? Why not do it? The volume of the helium-filled interior space is 5000 m3. The
density of helium gas is 0.160 kg/m3 and the density of hydrogen is 0.0810 kg/m3.
Concept:-
The mass of the object having density ρ and volume V is given by relation as;
m = ρV
The volume of the hydrogen and helium will be equal to the volume of the interior space.
The denser body will have larger mass.
Solution:-
The mass of the hydrogen gas that should filled in the interior space is
mH = ρHV
To obtain the required mass, substitute 0.0810 kg/m3 for the density of the hydrogen ρH,
V = 5000 m3 for volume of the interior
V in the given equation mH = ρHV ,
mH = ρHV
= (0.0810 kg/m3) (5000 m3) = 405 kg
The amount of the hydrogen required is 405 kg.
The mass of the helium gas that should filled in the interior space is
mHe = ρHeV
To obtain the required mass, substitute 0.160 kg/m3 for the density of the helium ρHe ,V =
5000 m3 for volume of the interior V in the given equation mHe = ρHeV,
mHe = ρHeV
= ( 0.160 kg/m3) (5000 m3) = 800 kg
The amount of the hydrogen gas required is 800 kg.
It is found that the mass of the helium gas is greater than the mass of the helium gas.
The difference in the mass of the gases will give the amount of payload that could be
carrying the payload.
To obtain the mass of the hydrogen required, the equation required is
?m = mHe – mH
Substitute 800 kg for mHe and 405 kg for mH in the above equation, the mass of the
hydrogen required is
?m =mHe – mH
= 800 kg – 405 kg = 395 kg
Therefore, the amount of payload that the Columbia could carry is 395 kg.
_________________________________________________________________________
__________
Problem 5:-
In 1654 Otto von Guericke, Burgermeister of Magdeburg and inventor of the air pump, gave
a demonstration before the Imperial Diet in which two teams of horses could not pull apart
two evacuated brass hemispheres. (a) Show that the force F required to pull apart the
hemispheres is F = πR2 ?p, where R is the (outside) radius of the hemispheres and ?p is the
difference in pressure outside and inside the sphere as shown in the below figure. (b)
Taking R equal to 0.305 m and the inside pressure as 0.100 atm, what force would the team
of horses have had to exert to pull apart the hemispheres? (c) Why were two teams of
horse used? Would not one team prove the point just as well?

Concept:-
The two brass hemispheres with an open flat can be replaced with two hemispheres with a
closed flat end.
The force required to pull apart the hemispheres is equal to pressure times the surface
area.
Solution:-
(a) It is given that the pressure difference between outside and inside the sphere is ?p . The
radius of the circle formed by the half hemispheres which face each other is R.
Now, the surface area of the hemisphere is
A = πR2
The force required to pull the apart the brass hemisphere is
F = ?pA
= ?p (πR2) = πR2 ?p
Therefore, the force required to pull apart the two hemispheres is πR2 ?p.
(b) It is given that the inside pressure is 0.11 atm.
Thus, the pressure difference between the inside and outside of the hemispheres is
?p = 1.00 atm – 0.11 atm = 0.89 atm
Substitute 0.305 m for R and 0.89 atm for ?p in the equation F = πR2?p
F = πR2?p
= (3.14) (0.305 m)2 (0.89 atm) (1.01×105 Pa/1 atm) [(1 kg/m.s2)/1 Pa]
= (2.5997×104 kg.m/s2) [1 N/(1 kg.m/s2)] = 2.5997×104 N
Rounding off to three significant figures, the force required to pull apart the two
hemispheres by the team of horses is 2.5997×104.
(c) The two teams of horses were used so as to pull apart the brass hemispheres. They
could not do so as the pressure difference is too high. For such pressure difference, large
amount of force is required.
_________________________________________________________________________
______________________________
Problem 6:-
The below figure displays the phase diagram of carbon, showing the ranges of temperature
and pressure in which carbon will crystallize either as diamond or graphite. What is the
minimum depth at which diamonds can form if the local temperature is 100ºC and the
subsurface rocks have density 3.1 g/cm3. Assume that, as in a fluid, the pressure is due to
the weight of material lying above.

Concept:-
The gauge pressure of the carbon lysing at a depth h from the surface of the Earth is
p = ρgh
Here, density of the subsurface rocks is ρ and acceleration due to gravity is g.
Solution:-
The corresponding phase diagram of carbon is represented as
From the graph, the point A gives the corresponding gauge pressure at the temperature of
1000ºC. It is found to be 4 GPa.
From the equation p = ρgh, the minimum depth at which diamonds can form at the
temperature of 1000ºC is
h = p/ρg
Substitute 4 GPa for p, 3.1 g/cm3 for ρ and 9.8 m/s2 for g in the equation h = p/ρg gives
h = p/ρg
= (4 GPa) (109 Pa/1 GPa) [(1 kg/m.s2)/1 Pa] / (3.1 g/cm3) (10-3 kg/1 g) (102 cm/1 m)3 (9.8
m/s2)
= 1.3167×105 m
Rounding off to two significant figures, the minimum depth at which diamond can form from
the carbon depth below the Earth is 1.3167×105 m.
_________________________________________________________________________
__________
Problem 7:-
In analyzing certain geological features of the Earth, it is often appropriate to assume that
the pressure at some horizontal level of compensation, deep in the Earth, is the same over
a large region and is equal to the exerted by the weight of the overlying material. That is,
the pressure on the level of compensation is given by the hydrostatic (fluid) pressure
formula. This requires, for example, that mountains have low-density roots; as shown in
below figure. Consider a mountain 6.00 km high. The continental rocks have a density of
2.90 g/cm3; beneath the continent is the mantle, with a density of 3.30 g/cm3. Calculate the
depth D of the root. (Hint: Set the pressure at points a and b equal; the depth y of the level
of compensation will cancel out.)

Concept:-
The gauge pressure at a depth h from the surface of the Earth is
p = ρgh
Here, acceleration due to gravity is g and density of the material inside the Earth is ρ .
Solution:-
Referring the figure 15-25 given in the problem, the pressure at the point a should be
considered from the top of the mountain.
So, the corresponding pressure is
pa = ρcg (6.0 km + 32 km + D) + ρMg (y – D)
Here, density of the material of the continent is ρc, density of the material of the mantle
is ρM and depth of the mantle is y.
pb = ρcghc + ρMg y
Referring the figure 15-25 given in the problem, the pressure at the point b is
Here, depth of the continent is hC.
The hydrostatic pressures at the points a and b is equal.
Thus,
pa = pb
ρcghc + ρMgy = ρcg (6.0 km + 32 km + D) + ρMg (y – D)
ρchc + ρMy = ρc (6.0 km + 32 km + D) + ρMy –ρMD
D = (ρc / ρM – ρc) [(6.0 km + 32 km) – hC]
Substitute 2.9 g/cm3 for ρc, 3.3 g/cm3 for ρM and 32 km for hC in the above equation gives
D = (ρc / ρM – ρc) [(6.0 km + 32 km) – hC]
= {[2.9 g/cm3] / [3.3 g/cm3 – 2.9 g/cm3]} [(6.0 km + 32 km) – 32 km]
= (7.25) 6.0 km) (103 m/1 km) = 43.5×103 m
Therefore, the depth D of the root is 43.5×103 m.

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Surface Tension Definition


We can surface tension definition can be stated as the phenomenon that occurs when the surface
of a liquid is in contact with another phase (it can be a liquid as well). It is the tendency of
liquids to acquire the least surface area possible. The surface of the liquid behaves like an
elastic sheet.
 The surface tension of water at 100∘C has a surface tension value of 0.059 N/m
 The surface tension of mercury is 0.47 N/m.
If there is a small leaf or a paper clip placed on the surface of a glass of water, what causes it to
float over it? The downward force of the body is balanced by the surface tension.

Surface Tension Formula


Surface tension formula can be mathematically expressed as:

T=F/L
Where,
F is the force per unit length
L is the length in which force act
T is the surface tension of the liquid

Unit of Surface Tension


The SI unit of Surface Tension is N/m. Check other units in the table provided below.

SI Unit N/m

CGS Unit dyn/cm

Surface Tension Examples


Water strider which are small insects can walk on the water as their weight is considerably less
to penetrate the water surface. Like this, there are various examples of surface tension which are
found in nature. Some examples are provided below

 Insects walking on water


 Floating a needle on the surface of the water.
 Rainproof tent materials where the surface tension of water will bridge the pores in the tent
material
 Clinical test for jaundice
 Surface tension disinfectants (disinfectants are solutions of low surface tension).
 Cleaning of clothes by soaps and detergents which lowers the surface tension of the water
 Washing with cold water
 Round bubbles where the surface tension of water provides the wall tension for the formation
of water bubbles.
 This phenomenon is also responsible for the shape of liquid droplets.
How to calculate Surface Tension?
Here is an example to calculate surface tension using the formula.
Question: Compute the surface tension of a given liquid whose dragging force is 7N and length
in which the force acts is 2m?
Solution:
Given,
F = 7N
L = 2m
According to the formula,
T=F/L ⇒T=7/2⇒T=3.5N/m

Methods of measurement
Some methods of measurement of surface tension is given in the points below.

 Spinning drop method


 Pendant drop method
 Du Noüy–Padday method
 Du Noüy ring method
 Wilhelmy plate method
 Pendant drop method
 Stalagmometric method
 Capillary rise method
 Bubble pressure method
 Resonant oscillations of a spherical and hemispherical liquid drop
 Vibrational frequency of levitated drops
 Sessile drop method
Stay tuned with Byju’s to learn more about surface tension, surface energy and more physics
related articles. Dont forget to read the related links mensioned below. Examine your expertise
by ansering the Surface Tension important questions listed below.
Physics Related Links:

Darcy Weisbach Equation


Relation Between Viscosity And
Derivation – Explanation and
Density
Applications

Hydrostatic Paradox – Definition,


Fluid Dynamics
Fluid Pressure Formula, Problem.

Surface Tension Important Questions


Q1. State Boyle’s law.
Ans: Boyle’s law states that the pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to its volume.
Q2. Why is raindrop spherical in shape?
Ans: Because of surface tension.
Q3. Give examples of capillary action.
Ans: Following are the examples of capillary action:

 The rise of oil in the wick of a lamp


 Absorption of ink in a blotting paper
Q4. What happens when a soap bubble is charged?
Ans: It expands.
Q5. What is the dimensional formula of surface tension?
Ans: Dimensional formula of surface tension is: [ML0T-2].
Q6. What is the surface tension of water at its boiling point?
Ans: It will be the same as that of the room temperature.
Q7. Why there is a more liquid rise in a thin tube?
Ans: Because of the smaller value of radius.
Q8. Which are the forces behind the origin of surface tension?
Ans: The forces behind the origin of surface tension are a cohesive force and adhesive force.
Q9. What is the unit of surface tension in the CGS system?
Ans: Dynes.cm-1.
Q10. Name the apparatus used for the determination of surface tension.
Ans: Stalagmometer.
Q11. What happens to the kinetic energy of liquid molecules with an increase in temperature?
Ans: It increases.
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Practise This Question


Which graph represents the variation of surface tension with temperature over small
temperature ranges for water
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