Liquids, Surface Tension, and Inter-Molecular Forces

Along with solids, gas, and plasma, liquid is one of the four fundamental states of matter. A liquid will conform to the shape of its container while retaining a constant volume without pressure and, as such, is the only fundamental state with a definite volume but no fixed shape.

A unique property of liquid is its elastic tendency, surface tension, which enables liquids to minimise their surface area due to intermolecular forces such as the van der Waals’ forces.

Van der Waals’ forces incorporate the Keesom force, the Debye force, and the London dispersion force – the force between two instantaneously induced dipoles.

Lee is a freelance writer with a keen interest in history and science.