A paperclip can float on water. Drops of mercury do not spread on a surface. These capillary phenomena are macroscopic manifestations of molecular interactions and can be explained in terms of surface tension. We address several conceptual questions that are often encountered when teaching capillarity and provide a perspective that reconciles the macroscopic viewpoints from thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and the microscopic perspective from statistical physics.
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PAPERS| October 01 2011
Why is surface tension a force parallel to the interface?
Joost H. Weijs;
Jacco H. Snoeijer;
Antonin Marchand, Joost H. Weijs, Jacco H. Snoeijer, Bruno Andreotti; Why is surface tension a force parallel to the interface?. Am. J. Phys. 1 October 2011; 79 (10): 999–1008. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.3619866
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