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How does detergent break the surface tension of water?

Detergent and Soap Break Surface Tension

The end of the detergent molecule which attaches to fat (grease) repels water molecules. This weakens the hydrogen bonds holding the water molecules together at the surface. The result is a break in the surface tension of the water.

Subsequently, one may also ask, why does soap decrease the surface tension of of water?

Soap molecules are composed of long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Since the surface tension forces become smaller as the distance between water molecules increases, the intervening soap molecules decrease the surface tension.

One may also ask, how does soap affect hydrogen bonds between water molecules? Soap is a surfactant, or a compound that lowers the surface tension of a liquid. Soap, in particular, decreases the surface tension of water by weakening the hydrogen bonds that make water such a special substance. This lower surface tension has two direct effects when it comes to the paper ball.

People also ask, how do you break the surface tension of water?

Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid like water, the interfacial tension between two liquids, or that between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.

How do you measure surface tension of water?

Measure the height the liquid rises above the liquid in the container. Place the bottom of a ruler directly above the liquid in the dish and measure how high the liquid has risen into the tube. The water rises due to the upward force of surface tension being greater than the downward force of gravity.


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