Summary
Capillary action (sometimes called capillarity, capillary motion, capillary rise, capillary effect, or wicking) is the process of a liquid flowing in a narrow space without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, any external forces like gravity. The effect can be seen in the drawing up of liquids between the hairs of a paint-brush, in a thin tube such as a straw, in porous materials such as paper and plaster, in some non-porous materials such as sand and liquefied carbon fiber, or in a biological cell. It occurs because of intermolecular forces between the liquid and surrounding solid surfaces. If the diameter of the tube is sufficiently small, then the combination of surface tension (which is caused by cohesion within the liquid) and adhesive forces between the liquid and container wall act to propel the liquid. Capillary comes from the Latin word capillaris, meaning "of or resembling hair." The meaning stems from the tiny, hairlike diameter of a capillary. While capillary is usually used as a noun, the word also is used as an adjective, as in "capillary action," in which a liquid is moved along — even upward, against gravity — as the liquid is attracted to the internal surface of the capillaries. The first recorded observation of capillary action was by Leonardo da Vinci. A former student of Galileo, Niccolò Aggiunti, was said to have investigated capillary action. In 1660, capillary action was still a novelty to the Irish chemist Robert Boyle, when he reported that "some inquisitive French Men" had observed that when a capillary tube was dipped into water, the water would ascend to "some height in the Pipe". Boyle then reported an experiment in which he dipped a capillary tube into red wine and then subjected the tube to a partial vacuum. He found that the vacuum had no observable influence on the height of the liquid in the capillary, so the behavior of liquids in capillary tubes was due to some phenomenon different from that which governed mercury barometers. Others soon followed Boyle's lead. Some (e.
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Liquid
A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container but retains a nearly constant volume independent of pressure. It is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being solid, gas, and plasma), and is the only state with a definite volume but no fixed shape. The density of a liquid is usually close to that of a solid, and much higher than that of a gas. Therefore, liquid and solid are both termed condensed matter.
Capillary action
Capillary action (sometimes called capillarity, capillary motion, capillary rise, capillary effect, or wicking) is the process of a liquid flowing in a narrow space without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, any external forces like gravity. The effect can be seen in the drawing up of liquids between the hairs of a paint-brush, in a thin tube such as a straw, in porous materials such as paper and plaster, in some non-porous materials such as sand and liquefied carbon fiber, or in a biological cell.
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