Surface Tension


APPLICATIONS OF SURFACE AND INTERFACIAL TENSIONS: Surface and Interfacial tension measurements are extremely important in the control and improvement of:

  • absorption
  • emulsification
  • osmotic pressuretensiometer
  • cataphoresis
  • evaporation
  • solubility
  • condenstion
  • miscibility

Industries using dye solutions, producing detergents, clarifying liquids, or separating ores by the flotation process can obtain greater uniformity and efficiency through close control of surface tension of the process liquid.  A close relationship exists between interfacial tensions of oil-liquid systems and the lubricating value of the oil.  Another major use is determining the sludging condition within a transformer, thereby eliminating costly repairs.

Tensiometers are instruments used for conducting surface analysis on liquid substances.  Typical applications Tensiometers perform include measuring surface tension, interfacial tension as well as liquid density and Lamella Length on some Tensiometer models.  Some mDY-300small.jpgodels can also perform other tasks including powder wettability and dynamic contact angle of a solid substrate.  Depending on the types of information the operator is seeking to find one model may be more appropriate than the other.



Common Applications for Tensiometers  

  • ASTM D971: Interfacial Tension of Oil Against Water
  • ASTM D1331: Solutions of Surface Acting Agents
  • ASTM D1417: Synthetic Rubber Lattices
  • ASTM D1590: Surface tension of industrial water and Industrial waste water


  • Great for hands-on learning
  • Can use virtually anywhere (does not require electricity)
  • Easy to learn how to use
  • Less expensive


  • It's manual.  You have to twist the dials by hand
  • There is a technique to getting repeatable results
  • Human error potential is higher
  • Need to record results by hand

Automatic Tensiometers


  • Easy to operate.  Press a button and walk away
  • Run more tests quickly with high repeatability
  • Ability to record and report data results (store historical data too)
  • Dynamic testing features including time tests and Lamella length and more
  • Most handle both DuNouy Ring and Wilhelmy Plate


  • More Expensive
  • Some models require a computer (some don't)

Want to compare features?

We break down some of the basic features and benefits

Sometimes your requirements are basic.  Other times you may find that you may need better resolution, accuracy, and or want other features like dynamic contact angle or CMC (Critical Micelle Concentration).  See our tensiometer selection matrix and find out more about..


  • Types of tests that can be performed
  • Capabilities that you can expect
  • General price ranges

Created on 09/22/11 at 12:43:16