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Exploring Surface Energy of Polymers by Contact Angle Estimation

Contact angle of drop from Wikipedia
Education Level
High School

Students will qualitatively and quantitatively estimate contact angles of polymers and compare their surface energy. They will use a variety of polymer sheets onto which they will place drops of water. After observing the shape of the drop, they will take digital photographs of the drop, print the images, and measure the contact angle with a protractor. Measurement of the contact angle is fundamental data for determining the degree of wetting when a liquid such as water and solids such as polymers and block copolymers (BCP) interact. Wetting plays an important role in nanofluids, self-cleaning surfaces, electro-wetting and in several industrial processes.

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