What Can Water’s Surface Tension Do?

14 12 2010

Water particles are attracted to each other from all sides. The particles on the surface only have each other to bond with, because there are not particles on top of them.  This attraction creates a thin skin, called surface tension.  Very light objects, like paper clips, can float on water if they do not break the surface tension.

When you simply drop a paperclip into a cup of water the surface tension breaks, causing the paper clip to sink.  It is possible to gently lay a paper clip on top of the water. This is very difficult, because if  your fingernail touches the surface you will break the tension. One trick is to lay a small piece of paper towel on top of the water and then pace the paperclip on top. This allows the paperclip to gently ease 0nto the water. The paperclip will float even after the paper towel sinks to the bottom!

Do you have any other tips for making a paper clip float? Leave a comment letting us know.

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