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How do you measure surface tension?

In preparing to write this blog, I decided (as always) to do a little research.  My thought was that this must be a simple thing with a simple answer – – well, not so much!  There are several general methods of measuring surface tension with several different implementations of each.  The most common method appears to be lowering a thin plate, rod, wire shape or tube into the liquid to wet it and then, using a balance or other weighing device, lifting the immersed item while measuring the weight exerted on it by the surface tension of the liquid.  The maximum force corrected for the weight of the item, buoyancy and other factors including the adhesion of the liquid being measured to the item immersed can be used to measure surface tension.

Basic method for measuring surface tension.

But what if the liquid does not wet the surface?  The technique then becomes one of measuring the force that must be exerted downward to break the surface tension which is a completely different problem.

Another method uses the droplet size that can be generated at the end of a hypodermic needle with one of several end configurations as an indicator of surface tension.  Higher surface tension liquids, of course, produce larger droplets.  This method is complicated by the extension of the droplet as it breaks free, the density of the liquid and several other factors.

Finally, there are methods that use the size bubble produced as a gas is introduced into a liquid through a small tube to determine surface tension.  Smaller bubbles indicate lower surface tension.

What I expected to be a simple challenge turned out to be majorly complex involving a number of different techniques and a LOT of math – – much more than I can cover in this blog.  What I did get out of all of this was that there seems to be no single way of measuring surface tension that is applicable in all situations.  The other thing is that it is very easy to confuse surface tension and wettability.  Using mercury as an example, mercury has a very high surface tension but will not wet glass yet it easily wets copper despite its high surface tension.

–  FJF  –

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Heneveld Industrial Group would like you to consider Micromag compact magnetic filters

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Heneveld Group, LLC and Industrial EMS Merge

In January 2015 we merged the Heneveld Group, LLC and Industrial EMS into one company renamed the Heneveld Industrial Group, LLC.

Heneveld Group, LLC absorbed Air Quality Specialist

In August 2012 the Heneveld Group, LLC absorbed Air Quality Specialist and their Smog Hog Cleaning business. We have since inception we have upgraded the electrostatic filter cleaning facility and expanded our customer base.

the sheet metal and machine shop was moved

In June 2012 the sheet metal and machine shop was moved to a leased facility next door to the Heneveld Group, LLC in Zeeland, MI.

EMS, LLC absorbed Complete Air and Mechanical / Lenger environmental technologies

In December 2010 Industrial EMS, LLC absorbed Complete Air and Mechanical / Lenger environmental  technologies  including their sheet metal and machine shop.

Heneveld Group, LLC funded the start-up of Industrial EMS. LLC

In August 2009 the Heneveld Group, LLC funded the start-up of Industrial EMS. LLC – a mechanical and electrical contractor.

Heneveld Group, LLC moved to it’s current location in Zeeland, MI.

In January 2006 the Heneveld Group, LLC moved to it’s current location in Zeeland, MI.

Heneveld Group, LLC absorbed VVI Industrial Products

In May 2002 the Heneveld Group, LLC absorbed VVI Industrial Products a distributor of industrial air filtration and vacuum systems and moved it’s inventory to Zeeland, MI.

Heneveld Group, LLC consolidated it’s offices and warehouse

In January 2002 the Heneveld Group, LLC consolidated it’s offices and warehouse to a leased facility in Zeeland, MI.

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