School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

Fb-4 Capillarity

Published: Friday 10 March 2006 - Updated: Tuesday 29 March 2011


To demonstrate capillarity in water and mercury.


See diagram


Click on pictures to enlarge.

Capillary Diagram


For water the attractive force between a glass and a water molecule (adhesion) is greater than that between two water molecules (cohesion). The result is that the water rises to a height depending on the tube diameter. For mercury the level in the capillary tube is depressed since in this case the forces of cohesion exceed those of adhesion.

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