Capillary Action Definition

In paper chromatography, solvent moves up paper via capillary action, moving pigment molecules with it.
In paper chromatography, solvent moves up paper via capillary action, moving pigment molecules with it. Martin Leigh / Getty Images

Capillary Definition

Capillary action describes the spontaneous flow of a liquid into a narrow tube or porous material.

Capillary action is caused by the combination cohesive forces of the liquid and the adhesive forces between the liquid and tube material. These forces pull the liquid into the tube.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Capillary Action Definition." ThoughtCo, Apr. 9, 2016, thoughtco.com/definition-of-capillary-action-604866. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2016, April 9). Capillary Action Definition. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-capillary-action-604866 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Capillary Action Definition." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-capillary-action-604866 (accessed January 24, 2018).