What is Surface Tension

Discover the intriguing world of surface tension and its impact on everyday occurrences. Learn how this property of liquids shapes our natural processes and industrial applications.


Surface tension is the property of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force, due to the cohesive forces between its molecules. This phenomenon plays a crucial role in various natural processes and everyday occurrences.

Definition and Explanation

Surface tension is defined as the force acting on the surface of a liquid that tends to minimize the surface area. It is caused by the imbalance of intermolecular forces at the surface compared to the bulk of the liquid. Molecules at the surface experience a net attraction towards the liquid, resulting in a thin ‘skin’ that gives rise to surface tension.

Examples of Surface Tension

  • Water droplets forming on a leaf due to surface tension preventing the water from spreading out.
  • An insect walking on the surface of water without sinking, thanks to surface tension supporting its weight.
  • A needle floating on the surface of water, as surface tension allows it to sit above the water rather than sink.

Case Studies on Surface Tension

Research has shown that surface tension plays a vital role in various industrial processes. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, surface tension is utilized in the production of capsules and pills. By controlling the surface tension of the liquid encapsulated, manufacturers can ensure uniformity and quality in their final products.

Statistics on Surface Tension

According to a study by the Journal of Physical Chemistry B, surface tension of liquids is influenced by factors such as temperature, pressure, and the presence of surfactants. Understanding and manipulating these factors can lead to advancements in industries such as cosmetics, food processing, and even environmental protection.


In conclusion, surface tension is a fascinating phenomenon that plays a significant role in various aspects of our daily lives. From the formation of raindrops to the functioning of our lungs, surface tension is a concept worth exploring and understanding.

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