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Comparing Water and Glycerol

  1. Sep 19, 2010 #1
    Just given in my physics Coursework and I wanted to see what you lot thought about my rather interesting results.

    Basically, I compared the vicosity and surface tension of both water and glycerol through a series of tests and was rather surprised at what I found. According to my results (and data books when I checked), water has a higher surface tension than glycerol, but glycerol is more viscous than water.

    Everything I have read on the internet and heard from Chemistry teachers is that both viscosity and surface tension are directly proportional to the amount of hydrogen bonds a molecule has, but obviously that cannot be the whole truth.

    Any thoughts on this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    In short - all other things being equal the more hydrogen bonds, the higher the surface tension and viscosity. But obviously water and glycerol are too different for such a simple rule to be effective.
  4. Sep 20, 2010 #3


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    Polyethylene has almost no hydrogen bonding but is so much thicker than both.
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