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by Raghottam Joshi

Introduction

Capillary action (sometimes capillarity, capillary motion, capillary effect) is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, external forces like gravity. It occurs because of inter-molecular forces between the liquid and surrounding solid surfaces.

In this TACtivity, we use a waste piece of newspaper to observe the capillary action of water.

    • Handle scissors with care.

  1. Take a newspaper and cut it to a size of 15 cm x 10 cm. First, make a mark along the width (shorter sides) at 10 cm from one of its longer sides. Hold down the scale at this mark, parallel to the long edge. Make a second mark at a distance of 15 cm. Cut the paper to this mark by holding down the scale and lifting the paper.
    • Take a newspaper and cut it to a size of 15 cm x 10 cm.

    • First, make a mark along the width (shorter sides) at 10 cm from one of its longer sides. Hold down the scale at this mark, parallel to the long edge.

    • Make a second mark at a distance of 15 cm. Cut the paper to this mark by holding down the scale and lifting the paper.

    • Cut from the second mark to the longer edge, parallel to the short edge.

    • Now, you have a rectangular shape of paper piece, of size 15 cm x 10 cm.

  2. Fold the paper along the length into half and crease with your fingers. The line formed in the middle will be the centre line for reference. Open the fold, make a fold at 1 cm and crease at one end along the width towards the centre line (shorter side of the paper). Fold the folded edge again towards the centre (second fold). Continue this action three more times to get a total of five folds of paper.
    • Fold the paper along the length into half and crease with your fingers. The line formed in the middle will be the centre line for reference.

    • Open the fold, make a fold at 1 cm and crease at one end along the width towards the centre line (shorter side of the paper).

    • Fold the folded edge again towards the centre (second fold). Continue this action three more times to get a total of five folds of paper.

    • This will resemble a flattened roll of paper with the first fold in the middle.

  3. Fold the paper at 1 cm on the opposite side and make four more folds, similar to the previous step. The folds on the second side should also be towards the centre line. Ensure to fold and crease the paper well at each fold, such that each fold is straight.
    • Fold the paper at 1 cm on the opposite side and make four more folds, similar to the previous step.

    • The folds on the second side should also be towards the centre line.

    • Ensure to fold and crease the paper well at each fold, such that each fold is straight.

    • You will have a paper with symmetric folds on its both sides, as shown.

  4. Take a tray/plate filled with water. Place the paper with the folds on the water's surface gently, such that base of the paper floats on the water's surface. The folds made in the paper will be facing up.
    • Take a tray/plate filled with water.

    • Place the paper with the folds on the water's surface gently, such that base of the paper floats on the water's surface.

    • The folds made in the paper will be facing up.

    • Make sure to place the base of the paper on the water's surface, such that the folds do not get wet initially.

    • Now, observe what happens to the folds you made.

    • Folds did not unfold - Ensure that the folds are not wet before you place the paper on the water's surface. Place the paper horizontally with the folds facing up.

  5. Changing the density of water by adding salt to water. Using hot water after boling it. Using cold water from the fridge.
    • Changing the density of water by adding salt to water.

    • Using hot water after boling it.

    • Using cold water from the fridge.

  6. Changing the paper type; Use a normal paper from a notebook. Changing the shape of the paper; Making a hand-shaped paper. Changing the shape of the paper; Making a paper ring.
    • Changing the paper type; Use a normal paper from a notebook.

    • Changing the shape of the paper; Making a hand-shaped paper.

    • Changing the shape of the paper; Making a paper ring.

    • Changing the shape of the paper; Making a paper coil.

    • Using milk instead of water.

    • To learn more about the above variations, go to Paper Capillary (Variations).

Finish Line

Vishal Bhatt

Member since: 04/26/2017

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