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Unit of Surface Tension

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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Surface tension is an interesting topic to study. It is defined as the attractive force that is found mostly in liquids which usually pulls molecules in the surface together. This results in the minimization of the area of the surface. In technical terms, the surface tension is the energy required to increase the surface area of a liquid by a unit of area. The surface tension is present due to the imbalance of attractive intermolecular forces or we say the cohesive forces that are between molecules. This phenomenon mostly occurs with water generally but it can happen with other liquids as well. Let us look at some surface tension units.

The Unit of Surface Tension

We find many of the examples of surface tension in nature and we have listed a few of them below in the article:

  • There are small insects such as water striders walking on water because their weight is not that enough to penetrate the surface tension.

  • A needle that is small when carefully placed over the surface of water can be made to float on water though the needle is several times denser than water. If the surface is agitated to break the tension ultimately, then the needle disturbs the surface tension and will sink quickly.

  • The detergent and the soaps lower the surface tension of water so that it can more readily soak into solid and pores areas.

  • The droplets of water that acquire their round shape due to surface tension. They are pulled spherical shape by the force that is cohesive of the surface layer

Surface tension is the tendency of surfaces of liquid to shrink generally into the minimum surface area possible. The phenomenon that is surface tension allows insects that are water striders to float and slide on a surface of water without becoming even partly submerged.

There are primarily two mechanisms that are in play. One is a force that is inward on the surface molecules which is causing the liquid to contract. There is a second method that is the tangential force parallel to the surface of the liquid. The net effect is the liquid that generally behaves as if its surface were covered with a stretched elastic membrane.

Unit of Surface Tension of Liquid

The force that is the cohesive one between liquid molecules is responsible for the phenomenon that is called as surface tension. The molecules which are at the surface of a glass of water do not have other water molecules on all sides of them. It is not really said to be true that a "skin" generally forms on the water surface. The force which is the cohesive one between the molecules in a liquid are shared with all neighboring molecules. Those which are on the surface have no neighboring molecules above and thus they exhibit a force which is the stronger attractive forces upon their nearest neighbors on and below the surface. Surface tension could be generally defined as the property of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force which is due to the cohesive nature of the water molecules.

The molecules of water want to cling to each other. However at  the surface there are fewer molecules of water to cling to since there is air above thus we say that there are no water molecules. This usually results in a bond that is stronger between those molecules that actually do come in contact with one another and a layer of strongly bonded water as well. This layer of the surface that is held together by surface tension) creates a barrier that is considerable between the atmosphere and the other water. In fact we can say that  other than mercury only water has the greatest surface tension of any liquid. 

Within a human body that is made up of a liquid there is a molecule that will not experience a net force because the forces by the neighboring molecules all of then get cancelled out . However for a molecule which is on the liquid's surface, there will be a net inward force since there will be no attractive force acting from above. This inward force or the net force causes the molecules that are on the surface to contract and to resist being stretched or broken. Thus we can say that the surface is under tension which is probably where the name that is "surface tension" came from. 

Now due to the phenomenon of surface tension there are small objects that will "float" on the surface of a fluid, as long as the object cannot break through and the objects cannot separate the top layer of water molecules. When an object is on the surface of any of the fluids there is the surface under tension will behave like an elastic membrane.

FAQs on Unit of Surface Tension

Q1. Explain what is the SI unit of Surface Tension?

Ans: The term that is surface tension generally represented by the symbol that is denoted by γ or alternatively we write it as σ or T. It is measured in force that is per unit length. Its SI unit of this is newton per meter but the cgs unit of this is dyne per centimeter is also used.

Q2. Explain what is the SI unit of Viscosity?

Ans: The SI unit for kinematic viscosity is said to be the square meters per second written as (m2/s). However we can say that due to the viscosity values of most common fluids square centimeters per second  that cm2/s is used more often. We need to note that 1 cm2/s is equivalent to 100 cSt.

Q3. Explain what is the unit of Viscosity?

Ans: The SI unit that is of dynamic viscosity is said to be the newton-second per square. That is written as meter N·s/m2 also frequently expressed in the equivalent forms. pascal-second which is written as Pa·s and kilogram per meter per second that is indeed written as kg·m−1·s−1. The unit that is of CGS is said to be the poise denoted as P, or g·cm−1·s−1 = 0.1 Pa·s which is named after Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille.

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