The Different Meanings of Meniscus in Science

Wave of water, surface view
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A meniscus is a phase boundary that has been curved because of surface tension. In the case of water and most liquids, the meniscus is concave. Mercury produces a convex meniscus.

Meniscus in Chemistry

A concave meniscus forms when the liquid molecules are more attracted to the container via adhesion than to each other via cohesion. A convex meniscus occurs when the liquid particles are more attracted to each other than to the walls of the container.

Measure the meniscus at eye level from the center of the meniscus. For a concave meniscus, this it the lowest point or bottom of the meniscus. For a convex meniscus, this is the uppermost or top point of the liquid.

A meniscus is seen between the air and water in a glass of water. The water is seen to curve up the edge of the glass.

Meniscus in Physics

In physics, the term "meniscus" can either apply to the boundary between a liquid and its container or to a type of lens used in optics. A meniscus lens is a convex-concave lens in which one face curves outward, while the other face curves inward. The outward curve is greater than the inward curve, the lens acts as a magnifier and has a positive focal length.

Meniscus in Anatomy

In anatomy and medicine, a meniscus is a crescent-shaped or semi-lunar structure that partially divides the cavity of a joint. A meniscus is a fibrocartilaginous tissue. Examples in humans are found in the wrist, knee, temporomandibular, and sternoclavicular joints. In contrast, an articular disk is a structure that completely divides a joint cavity.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "The Different Meanings of Meniscus in Science." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). The Different Meanings of Meniscus in Science. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "The Different Meanings of Meniscus in Science." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 27, 2023).