Surface tension

Surface tension

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  • Helen Watson & Britton Bielitz
  • Water molecules at the surface hold closely together, forming an invisible film.
  • Surface tension allows insects usually denser than water to float and slide on the water.
  • Water's surface tension can hold weight that would normally sink.
  • Net Effect: an inward force at its surface that causes the liquid to behave as if its surface were covered with a stretched elastic membrane.
  • Surface tension is essential for the transfer of energy from wind to water to create waves.
  • During our lab, we discovered that paper clips can float on water even though they have a higher density. The water's surface tension keeps molecules closer together preventing the paper clip from breaking it. When we put soap in the dish the paper clips couldn't float because it separated the water molecules. We were able to float 2 paper clips on water in a Petri dish, but when we tried to float paper clips with water and soap, we were unsuccessful.
  • Observations:
  • Water has property called surface tension chichis a result of its molecules held closely together.
  • Claim
  • In our experiment, we were able to float 2 paper clips on water in a Petri dish. Although paper clips are denser than water, the surface tension of the water formed an invisible film able to float them. When soap was mixed in with the water and the surface tension broke, the paper clips no longer floated because there was nothing to hold them up.
  • Evidence
  • Because oxygen has a slightly negative charge and hydrogen has a slightly positive charge, water molecules are attracted to other molecules and form hydrogen bonds that create cohesion that creates surface tension. The pull of attraction between the water molecules below the surface causes a force that packs the water molecules at the surface close creating a thin, dense layer of molecules. But, soap is able to break this up on the surface weakening the hydrogen bonds holding the water molecules together at the surface. The result is a break in the surface tension in the water.
  • Reasoning
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