Before proceeding to unravel the meaning of the term surface tension, what we are going to do is know the etymological origin of the two words that shape it. In this sense, we can determine that both derive from Latin:
-Tension comes from "tension", which means "action and effect of being stretched". It should also be stressed that it is the result of the sum of two Latin components: the adjective "tensus", which can be translated as "stretched", and the suffix "-cion", which is used to indicate what is said "action and effect".
-Surface, on the other hand, comes from "superficialis", which can be translated as "the equivalent of the surface". In its case it is a term composed of three parts: the prefix "super-", which is used to indicate "envelope"; the noun "facies", which is synonymous with "face"; and the suffix "-al", which is used to indicate "relative to".
Among the multiple meanings of tension We can mention its meaning as the situation in which a body is found that is under the influence of opposing forces, which exert a certain attraction on it. Superficial , meanwhile, is that related to the surface : the outer appearance, the boundary or the top layer of something.
The concept of surface tension It is used in the field of physical to refer to the amount of energy that is required to increase the surface of a liquid per unit area. Such energy is needed since liquids exert a resistance when increasing the surface.
Surface tension arises from the forces that act cohesive the molecules of liquids These forces are not equal on the surface and inside the liquid, although on average they end up canceling. As the surface molecules have more energy, the system tends to minimize the total energy from a reduction in surface molecules; in this way, the area of the liquid is reduced to a minimum.
One of the properties of the surface tension indicates that, as the liquid has greater cohesion forces, it will have a higher surface tension. However, it must be taken into account that the surface tension is linked to the temperature, the medium and the nature of the liquid.
We can understand surface tension as a kind of elastic membrane that makes it difficult "Enter" to the liquid Due to this phenomenon, some insects have the possibility of perching on the Water Without sinking.
In addition to everything indicated, we cannot ignore that there are various measurements of what the surface tension of a liquid is. However, one of the most widespread and used is known as the Du Nouy method, which is undertaken using two important "tools" such as a sheet of the liquid in question and an aluminum ring. Starting from these elements, the calculation is carried out taking into account parameters such as the force or the diameter of said ring.