Basis of Science
Name: Charity W.
Date: Tuesday, July 16, 2002
How does the temperature of the water effect surface
tension? Thank you so much for your help.
The surface tension of a liquid in equilibrium with its vapor, or its
vapor plus air is almost universally negative. The order of magnitude of the
change in surface tension per degree increase in the absolute temperature
(in kelvins, K) is about [ -0.1 mJ/mol*K ]. If you think of the surface
tension as the energy REQUIRED to INCREASE the surface of the liquid an
incremental amount, it is reasonable that it takes less energy as the
temperature increases because the molecules in the vicinity of the interface
are "bouncing around" faster, on average, the higher the temperature, so the
interfacial surface requires less energy to stretch.
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