Soap's Effect On The Surface Tension Of Water

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Soap’s Effect on The Surface Tension Of Water

By: Lusinda Garcia
Biology I - Pre-AP

December 10, 2017

Surface tension is when the surface of a liquid that’s in contact with gas, acts like a thin elastic sheet. Water has a high level of surface tension, which means that when the molecules on the surface of water are not surrounded by similar molecules on all sides, they're being pulled by cohesion from other similar molecules deep inside. These molecules bind to each other strongly but stick to the other mediums weakly. It has been proven many times that soap decreases water’s surface tension; however, there is still a vast amount of people that believe soap increases the elasticity of water’s surface tension. Soap’s negative
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Soap disrupts the hydrogen bonds in water, which are the building blocks that keep water molecules together, so when soap severs those bonds, soap causes the water to overflow and the surface tension breaks. By adding more soapy water to the penny, the soapy water’s surface tension will break faster than the tap water. The average number of drops with tap water was higher than the number of drops with soapy water, once again proving my hypothesis right. The highest number of drops I counted with the soapy water was much less than my lowest number of drops with tap water. The highest number of drops I recorded for tap water was more than double the lowest number of soapy water drops. This information proves that soapy water’s surface tension breaks faster, and causes the hydrogen molecules to break faster as well. Adding soap to water makes its surface tension decrease, so soapy water drops become weaker and break apart faster. This stops water molecules from adhering to each other, this lack of adhesion is what allows soap to clean dishes and clothes more easily. I believe that one error or variable that isn’t accounted for in this experiment is the lack of consistency in each droplet of water, some drops may be very large while other might be miniscule. This variable, while it doesn’t seem like a big ordeal, can deeply affect the outcome of this experiment. Due to the unaccountability of the inconsistency in droplet size, many of the numbers may be varied because in one trial a huge droplet may count as one, but in another trial, I may have counted a small droplet as one, which causes results to possibly be

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