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Author Topic: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?  (Read 6837 times)

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« on: 12/12/2008 21:13:23 »
Water is. I don't think mercury is. So what does "wet" mean?
« Last Edit: 19/12/2008 09:44:21 by chris »


 

Offline RD

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #1 on: 12/12/2008 22:20:41 »
The verb to wet : to coat with a film of liquid.
The ability of a liquid to wet a surface is inversely proportional to its surface tension.
Water has a high surface tension, so most liquids are "wetter" than water, (e.g. pure alcohol).
Mercury, like water, has an unusually high surface tension.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2008 22:26:53 by RD »
 

lyner

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #2 on: 12/12/2008 22:24:09 »
Adhesion vs cohesive forces, I would suggest. Because of it's high specific heat capacity, once water  has wetted you it also manages to feel very cold. Other wet liquids - like light oils - stick but don't feel as cold.
I don't think there's an official definition.
Mercury wets copper braid very well btw.
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #3 on: 12/12/2008 22:44:52 »
Mercury reacts with (dissolves) copper ...

Quote
Metals such as tin, silver, and copper will form compounds with the mercury.
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2003-04/1049252616.Gb.r.html
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #4 on: 12/12/2008 23:05:25 »
hmmm, interesting
 

lyner

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #5 on: 13/12/2008 00:29:06 »
Water dissolves lots of things - eventually.
I guess dissolving is the ultimate attraction.
 

Offline lightarrow

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #6 on: 13/12/2008 18:03:56 »
Mercury reacts with (dissolves) copper ...
Quote
Metals such as tin, silver, and copper will form compounds with the mercury.
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2003-04/1049252616.Gb.r.html
Ok, but, at room temperature, a mercury drop will first wet a copper surface, then, after xyz days/weeks will have (perhaps) completely dissolved in it. To increase reaction speed you would use fine copper powder. By the way, using fine Cu powder is a way (invented by me and never experimented :)) of removing very little Hg drops from pavement after a possible crash of an Hg thermometre.
Maybe gold is even more efficient, but it depends on your budget...  ;)
« Last Edit: 13/12/2008 18:11:09 by lightarrow »
 

lyner

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #7 on: 13/12/2008 21:47:11 »
Never drop mercury on the floor of an aeroplane - it eats its way through to the outside as the dissolved aluminium oxidises at the mercury air surface.
 

Offline Supercryptid

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Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #8 on: 18/12/2008 10:24:19 »
What about when you get down to the molecular level? What if you had a single molecule of water held to a single molecule of sugar by intermolecular forces? Is the molecule of sugar "wet"? If not, then how large does a group of molecules have to be before can be wet?
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Is there a scientific definition of "wet"?
« Reply #8 on: 18/12/2008 10:24:19 »

 

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