A meniscus is seen along the edges of this glass cylinder.

Water in a glass cylinder, showing the meniscus.

Detailed Description

What is a meniscus?

A meniscus is a curve in the surface of a molecular substance (water, of course) when it touches another material. With water, you can think of it as when water sticks to the inside of a glass.

Why a meniscus occurs

Adhesion is responsible for a meniscus and this has to do in part with water's fairly high surface tension. Water molecules are attracted to the molecules in the wall of the glass beaker. And since water molecules like to stick together, when the molecules touching the glass cling to it, other water molecules cling to the molecules touching the glass, forming the meniscus. They'll travel up the glass as far as water's cohesive forces will allow them, until gravity prevents them from going further. Cohesion is an intermolecular attraction between like molecules (other water molecules in this case).


Image Dimensions: 1200 x 1252

Date Taken:

Location Taken: US