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surface tension

noun, Physics.
the elasticlike force existing in the surface of a body, especially a liquid, tending to minimize the area of the surface, caused by asymmetries in the intermolecular forces between surface molecules.
1875-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for surface tension
  • surface tension pulls the beads into their distinctive round shape.
  • It has been suggested that this phenomenon may be explained by alteration in surface tension.
  • Even if you use heavy-duty aluminum foil, the surface tension of water will go a long way towards keeping the foil boats afloat.
  • One of the biggest differences between water and an oily liquid such as octane, a component of petroleum, is surface tension.
  • The sun-powered machines rely on water's surface tension.
  • They reasoned that the water is bound to the dog by surface tension between the liquid and the hair.
  • The surface tension of any liquid decreases with increasing temperature.
  • The quick answer is that no, density and surface tension are not tightly related.
  • With respect to the surface tension of water and droplet size when a surfactant is added to water to create a wet water solution.
British Dictionary definitions for surface tension

surface tension

a property of liquids caused by intermolecular forces near the surface leading to the apparent presence of a surface film and to capillarity, etc
a measure of this property expressed as the force acting normal to one side of a line of unit length on the surface: measured in newtons per metre T, γ, σ
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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surface tension in Medicine

surface tension n.

  1. A property of liquids arising from unbalanced molecular cohesive forces at or near the surface, as a result of which the surface tends to contract and exhibit properties resembling those of a stretched elastic membrane.

  2. A measure of this property.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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surface tension in Science
surface tension
A property of liquids such that their surfaces behave like a thin, elastic film. Surface tension is an effect of intermolecular attraction, in which molecules at or near the surface undergo a net attraction to the rest of the fluid, while molecules not near the surface are attracted to other molecules equally in all directions and undergo no net attraction. Because of surface tension, the surface of a liquid can support light objects (such as water beetles on the surface of a pond). Surface tension is responsible for the spherical shape of drops of liquid; spheres minimize the surface area of the drop and thus minimize surface tension. See also capillary action, meniscus.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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surface tension in Culture

surface tension definition

The force exerted along the surface of a fluid that causes it to “bead up” and form into drops. Water has high surface tension and beads up easily; alcohol has low surface tension and does not often show droplets.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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