Surface Tension


What is surface tension? What role does hydrogen bonding play in allowing for this characteristic to occur?

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Water is a funny little molecule. Because of how incredibly electronegative oxygen is, when water (H2O) forms, the hydrogen atoms don’t sit neatly on either side. The oxygen atom pulls the electrons towards it, pushing the hydrogen atoms away from one end; when all said and done, and H2O molecule looks like [Mickey Mouse ears](

What this means is that one side of the water molecule has a _slight_ negative charge, while the other end has a _slight_ positive charge. When in solution, those molecules will attract one another and make them _sightly_ stick together.

Now, on to your question. Surface tension is the result of that slight attraction between water molecules. When liquid water fills up a vessel and is _just_ over the top, the attraction between the water molecules will keep the liquid from running over – the attraction (surface tension) is just strong enough to overcome gravity. Add more water, and gravity gets strong enough to overcome and the water pours out.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Water molecules always like to grab onto each other. At the surface, there is nobody above them to grab onto. So now they have extra hands with which to grab their neighbors to the side.

Anonymous 0 Comments

All liquids have surface tension; their molecules tend to want to stick together. If they didn’t, then they’d be a gas.