CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Comparison of the appearance of 'tears' of water (left), wine (centre), and whiskey (right). The phenomenon manifests as a ring of clear liquid, near the top of a glass, from which droplets continuously form and drop back in. It is most readily observed in a liquid which has a high alcohol content. The effect is a consequence of the fact that alcohol has a lower surface tension than water. If alcohol is mixed with water inhomogeneously, a region with a lower concentration of alcohol will pull on the surrounding fluid more strongly than a region with a higher alcohol concentration. The result is that the liquid tends to flow away from regions with higher alcohol concentration. This can be easily and strikingly demonstrated by spreading a thin film of.
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