Fundamentals of Surface Tension/Wettability

I have tried to put few demonstrations and experiments on this web site, which highlight to a good extent, the importance of 'surface tension' effects in our daily life. The motivation behind this effort is to introduce elementary school-aged children to the fundamentals of general science with a focus on wetting phenomena / surface tension effects. This effort is sponsored by NSF Nanotechnology and Interdisciplinary Research Initiative (NIRT).

If you happen to have any good suggestions/feedback regarding this web site, you are welcome to email me at agrawala[at]mit[dot]edu. Hope you have a good time exploring this web site, Thanks, Abhinandan Agrawal.


1) Introduction to surface tension

2) Surface tension as a line force and interfacial energy

3) Interfacial (liquid-liquid) tension

4) Minimal surfaces

5) Soap bubbles, surfactants and detergents

6) Wettability, non-wettability and contact angle hysteresis

7) Role of roughness as an amplifier for wettability

8) Capillarity and gravity

9) Dynamical effects and interfacial stability

10) Special interfaces

11) Current research in wettability


Prof. Gareth McKinley for his ideas and suggestions
Roger Yeh for co-directing the videos.

Useful References:

1) Capillarity and Wetting Phenomena: Drops, Bubbles, Pearls, Waves. de Gennes P-G., Brochard-Wyart F., Quere, D. Springer. Springer, 2004.

2) The Science of Soap Films and Soap Bubbles. Cyril Isenberg. Dover Publications, Inc. New York, 1992.

3) Surface Tension of Polymers (presentation) Abhinandan Agrawal, June 2005.

4) Physics and Chemistry of Interfaces. Hans-Jurgen Butt, Karlheinz Graf, Michael Kappl, Wiley-VCH, 2003.

5) Physical Chemistry of Surfaces. Aurthur W. Adamson, Alice P. Gast, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 6th edition, 1997.


Back to index ||Introduction to surface tension ||Definition of surface tension||Interfacial tension ||Minimal surfaces ||Soap bubbles, Surfactants and Detergents

Wettability||Role of roughness ||Capillarity and gravity||Dynamical effects and instability||Special interfaces ||Current research in wettability

Back to NIRT Home||On our current research ||More on Wetting||Contact Angle Measurement||Atomic Force Microscopy ||My personal homepage