Phenomena

Soap Film Loops

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Here’s a fun demonstration of the effects of surface tension. If a loop of thread is dropped onto a soap film, as shown above, popping the soap film inside the thread will pull the thread into a circle.  This is because the surface tension of the soap film outside the thread is reacting to the sudden loss of the balancing force exerted by surface tension inside the thread loop. Surface tension arises from intermolecular forces in a fluid.  Because those forces are in balance except along the interface of a fluid–where the fluid molecules are not completely surrounded by identical molecules–there is a net force exerted at the surface.

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