Phenomena

Surface Tension Floats Coins

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Surface tension arises from intermolecular forces along the interface of a fluid, but despite its molecular origins, it can have some substantial macroscopic effects. Here researchers demonstrate how surface tension can hold up metal coins that would otherwise sink. Moreover, when multiple coins are set on the surface of the water, surface tension draws them together into a closely packed array because it reduces the surface energy by creating a single large well instead of many small ones. This is the same reason that your Cheerios tend to clump together on the surface of your milk when you’re eating breakfast! (Video credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab)

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