Scientists revise the 60-year-old definition of surface tension on solids

Feb 27, 2012

Researchers of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have shown that surface tension on a solid material is unconnected to the energy required to create a new surface. Consequently, surface tension on a solid does not exist in its conventional meaning.

It is generally believed that an excess on a solid material exists, in similar manner to that on a liquid. This tension is described by the Shuttleworth equation, which was presented more than 60 years ago and is considered a fundamental equation of surface thermodynamics. It is believed to provide the connection between surface tension and .

Three years ago, VTT researchers Lasse Makkonen and Kari Kolari, together with British scientist David Bottomley, revealed in the journal that the Shuttleworth equation is incompatible with the thermodynamic theory. This was hard to accept by many and provoked a lively discussion in the scientific literature.

Now Lasse Makkonen has shown mathematically that the disputed equation reduces to the definition of mechanical surface stress and has no connection with the energy of creating a new, unstrained surface. Consequently, the excess surface tension suggested by the Shuttleworth equation does not exist. The existence and nature of surface tension on a solid must therefore be sought by molecular dynamics at the only.

This new finding by Makkonen was published in Scripta Materialia this week. The research was funded by the Academy of Finland.

Explore further: Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material

More information: Link to the publication: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359646212000826

Related Stories

A new twist on surface tension

Jan 10, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- On a mission to manipulate microscale structures of materials, researchers engineer new methods of controlling surface tension.

Venom tears: Snake bites can turn out to be groovy

May 13, 2011

Many people worry about the manner of their death. Death by car accident, death by cancer and death by gunshot are some of the more dreaded ways to go. No less awful is the prospect of death by snakebite. ...

Neutrons answer shampoo formulation puzzle

Dec 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists at the Institut Laue-Langevin have used neutrons to solve a long-standing mystery about the surface properties of polyelectrolyte/surfactant mixtures, such as those used in many ...

The Marangoni effect: A fluid phenom (w/ Video)

Mar 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- What do a wine glass on Earth and an International Space Station experiment have in common? Well, observing the wine glass would be one of few ways to see and understand the experiment being ...

Recommended for you

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material

Apr 23, 2015

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have unveiled an important step in the conversion of light into storable energy: Together with scientists of the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin and ...

From metal to insulator and back again

Apr 22, 2015

New work from Carnegie's Russell Hemley and Ivan Naumov hones in on the physics underlying the recently discovered fact that some metals stop being metallic under pressure. Their work is published in Physical Re ...

Electron spin brings order to high entropy alloys

Apr 22, 2015

Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered that electron spin brings a previously unknown degree of order to the high entropy alloy nickel iron chromium cobalt (NiFeCrCo) - and may play ...

Expanding the reach of metallic glass

Apr 22, 2015

Metallic glass, a class of materials that offers both pliability and strength, is poised for a friendly takeover of the chemical landscape.

Electrons move like light in three-dimensional solid

Apr 22, 2015

Electrons were observed to travel in a solid at an unusually high velocity, which remained the same independent of the electron energy. This anomalous light-like behavior is found in special two-dimensional ...

Quantum model helps solve mysteries of water

Apr 20, 2015

Water is one of the most common and extensively studied substances on earth. It is vital for all known forms of life but its unique behaviour has yet to be explained in terms of the properties of individual ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

StarGazer2011
1 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2012
but i thought the science was settled ;)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.