Cohesion causes water molecules to clump together.

A water drop on a leaf.

Detailed Description

Cohesion makes a water drop a drop

If you just look at the picture of the water drop sitting of the leaf, you might think the water drop has a "skin" holding it into a sort of flattened sphere (although there is nothing flat about a water drop in outer space). It turns out that this surface tension is the result of the tendency of water molecules to attract one another. The natural form of a water drop occurs during the "lowest energy state", the state where the atoms in the molecule are using the least amount of energy. For water, this state happens when a water molecule is surrounded on all sides by other water molecules, which creates a sphere or ball (perfectly round if it was in outer space). On Earth, the effect of gravity flattens this ideal sphere into the drop shape we see. Although you may have heard of a "skin" where water meets the air, this is not really an accurate description, as there is nothing other than water in the drop.

 Learn about cohesion and adhesion in water

Details

Image Dimensions: 194 x 266

Location Taken: US

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