# Capillary Action

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Liquids (such as water) that wet glass climb upward on the surfaces of their containers to form a concave meniscus. This occurs when adhesive solid-liquid intermolecular forces are stronger than liquid forces. Such liquids will rise in a narrow capillary tube until a balance is established between the effects of surface tension and gravity. The capillary rise increases sharply as the tube is made narrower. For example, water in a glass capillary of radius 0.1 mm will rise by about 140 mm. The capillary rise is given by , where is the solid-liquid surface tension in N/m, is the contact angle for the meniscus (measured upward from the vertical wall), is the density of the liquid, is the gravitational acceleration (9.81 m/s), and is the radius of the capillary. In this Demonstration, is expressed as a specific gravity ( corresponding to 1000 kg/m), while and are given in mm. The default values are those for water in glass at 20°C.

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Contributed by: S. M. Blinder (March 2011)

Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

## Snapshots

## Details

Snapshots 1 and 2: narrower tubes show higher capillary rises

Snapshot 3: water at 100°C has a surface tension reduced to 0.0599 N/m, hence a lower capillary rise

Reference: G. K. Batchelor, *An Introduction to Fluid Dynamics*, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

## Permanent Citation

"Capillary Action"

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/CapillaryAction/

Wolfram Demonstrations Project

Published: March 7 2011