Explain Why The Angle of Contact of Mercury with Glass is Obtuse, While that of Water with Glass is Acute - Physics


Explain why The angle of contact of mercury with glass is obtuse, while that of water with glass is acute


Solution 1

The angle between the tangent to the liquid surface at the point of contact and the surface inside the liquid is called the angle of contact (θ), as shown in the given figure.


SlaSsa, and Ssl are the respective interfacial tensions between the liquid-air, solid-air, and solid-liquid interfaces. At the line of contact, the surface forces between the three media must be in equilibrium, i.e.,

`cos theta = (S_(sa) - S_(sl))/S_(la)`

The angle of contact θ , is obtuse if Ssa < Sla (as in the case of mercury on glass). This angle is acute if Ssl < Sla (as in the case of water on glass).

Solution 2

Let a drop of a liquid L be poured on a solid surface S placed in air A. If TSL,and TSA be the surface tensions corresponding to solid-liquid layer, liquid-air layer and solid-air layer respectively and θ be the angle of contact between the liquid and solid ,then

TLA Cos θ + TSL =TSA


For the mercury-glass interface, TSA< TSL.

Therefore, cos 0 is negative. Thus θ is an obtuse angle. For the water-glass interface, TSA > TSL. Therefore cos 0 is positive. Thus, θ is an acute angle.

Concept: Surface Tension
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Chapter 10: Mechanical Properties of Fluids - Exercises [Page 268]


NCERT Physics Class 11
Chapter 10 Mechanical Properties of Fluids
Exercises | Q 2.1 | Page 268

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