The phenomena of surface tension are due to the Van der Waals’ forces (p. 138), which are attractions between neighbouring atoms or molecules. An atom within the body of a liquid is attracted by its neighbours on all sides, as shown in Fig. 78, but an atom on the surface has neighbours only on one side, and consequently experiences a resultant force inwards. This keeps the bulk of the liquid together, and only a few energetic atoms can escape by evaporation.
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- Surface tension
S. M. Geddes
- Macmillan Education UK
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