Surface Tension Basics

Students are presented with the question: "Why does a liquid jet break up into droplets?" and introduced to its importance in inkjet printers. A discussion of cohesive forces and surface tension is included, as well as surface acting agents (surfactants) and their ability to weaken the surface tension of water. Students observe the effects of surface tension using common household materials. Finally, students return to the original question through a homework assignment that helps them relate surface tension and surface area to the creation of water droplets from a liquid jet.