capillary action

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capillary action

n.
The interaction between contacting surfaces of a liquid and a solid that distorts the liquid surface from a planar shape and causes the liquid to rise or fall in a narrow tube.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

capillary action

The movement of a liquid along the surface of a solid caused by the greater attraction of the liquid's molecules to the surface of the solid than to each other. The liquid's molecules adhere to the solid surface and also to each other, so that each molecule pulls the next one along. Water moves through the roots of trees or into the pores of a sponge or towel by capillary action.
Did You Know? The paper towel industry owes its existence to capillary action. Towels easily draw up water, much as a drop of blood to be taken for a test will defy gravity and travel up a small tube. In both cases, the force of gravity is still in effect, but it is being overwhelmed by the stickiness of liquids. The molecules of liquid stick to the sides of a narrow tube or the tiny channels in a towel, and other molecules stick to the first molecules, so the liquid crawls upwards. Some people think that this capillary action is responsible for moving water from the roots to the highest leaves of a tree, but it can only push water up so high. The remaining trip is powered by transpiration pull. As water evaporates from leaves, it sets up a suction that turns the entire tree into a straw through which the water on the bottom is pulled up.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.capillary action - a phenomenon associated with surface tension and resulting in the elevation or depression of liquids in capillariescapillary action - a phenomenon associated with surface tension and resulting in the elevation or depression of liquids in capillaries
surface tension - a phenomenon at the surface of a liquid caused by intermolecular forces
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References in periodicals archive ?
Fries and Dreyer [18] derived an analytic solution for the capillary rise of liquids in a cylindrical tube or a porous medium in terms of height h as a function of time t.
The immersion values of residential area and crops are the sum of the height of capillary rise and the depth of crop roots.
The height of capillary rise is affected by the pore size.
The "elastic micropump" theory that Rico-Guevara and his Connecticut colleagues propose relies on the same tendency of water molecules to grip each other that creates capillary rise in an open tube.
The suggested remediation approach is based on the physical phenomenon known as capillary rise. The process of material filling with a liquid can be called absorption if it occurs mostly due to the capillary suction pressure or external pressure (Masoodi et al.
Results obtained from determination of capillary rise (cf.
Malaiskiene, presented, how the selected stages of drying regime influence the structural parameters of ceramics (reserve of porous volume, heterogeneity degree of structure, maximum rate of capillary rise according to watering front.
Then, the relationship between the rate of capillary rise of alcohol and the inverse of the capillary rise was determined by linear regression analysis.
The capillary rise observed in the glass tube was recorded using the light source and the digital camera.
When water rises above a permanent or fluctuating water table by capillary rise, the rise is determined by the diameter and continuity of the soil pores.