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# Surface Tension

Surface Tension and Applications of surface tension

Surface Tension

Activity 7

Take some water in a beaker and spread a tissue paper on the surface of the water. Gently place the paper clip on the tissue paper. Observe what happens to the paper pin after some time.

After a few moments the tissue paper will submerge and the paper clip will make a small depression on the surface of the water. It will instantly begin to float on the surface, even though it is denser than water.

Aim : To understand about surface tension property of liquid.

Materials required : Glass beaker, water, paper clip, tissue paper.

Procedure :

(i) Take a paper clip. Take a beaker of water.

(ii) Take a tissue paper and spread it on the surface of the water.

(iii) Gently, place the paper clip on the tissue paper.

(iv) Observe what happens to the paper pin after some time.

Observation : After a few moments the tissue paper will submerge and the paper clip will make a small depression on the surface of the water. It will instantly begin to float on the surface, even though it is denser than water.

Inference : This is due to the water molecules on the surface, which tend to contract themselves like the molecules of an elastic membrane. A force exists on them, which tends to minimize the surface area of water. The paper clip is balanced by the molecules on the water surface that is now behaving like a stretched elastic membrane. So, it does not submerge.

How is it possible? This is because the water molecules on the surface which tend to contract themselves like the molecules of an elastic membrane. A force exists on them, which tends to minimize the surface area of water. The paper clip is balanced by the molecules on the water surface that is now behaving like a stretched elastic membrane. So, it does not submerge.

Have you ever wondered why rain drops are spherical in nature? How does the water rise upward in a tree or plant against the force of gravity? These are all due to surface tension.

Surface tension is the property of a liquid. The molecules of a liquid experience a force, which contracts the extent of their surface area as much as possible, so as to have the minimum value. The amount of force acting per unit length, on the surface of a liquid is defined as surface tension. Its unit is Nm–1.

Applications of surface tension

Surface tension is the reason for many events we see in our daily life.

* In plants, water molecules rise up due to surface tension. Xylem tissues are very narrow vessels present in plants. Water molecules are absorbed by the roots and these vessels help the water to rise upward due to 'capillarity action', which is caused by the surface tension of water.

* During heavy storm, ships are damaged due surface tension of water. By pouring oil or soap powder into the sea, sailors reduce its impact.

* Water strider insect slides on the water surface easily due to the surface tension of water.

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