capillary action

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capillary action

the process involving molecular adhesion by which the surface of a liquid in a tube is either elevated or depressed, depending on the cohesiveness of the liquid molecules. The more cohesive the molecules, the more depressed will be the surface of the liquid. Less cohesive liquid molecules will adhere to the surfaces of the tube in which they are contained and elevate the surface of the liquid. Also called capillary attraction, capillarity.

capillary action

The spontaneous movement of a liquid up thin tubes, due to adhesive and cohesive forces and surface tension.

capillary action

A surface tension effect shown by the elevation or depression of a liquid at the region of contact with a solid, as in capillary tubes.
Synonym: capillarity
See also: action