Meniscus Definition and Examples

The Different Meaning of Meniscus in Science

Curved surface (meniscus) of water in graduated pipette. Liquid volume measured by reading the scale at the bottom of the meniscus. The reading is 2.37 mL.
Curved surface (meniscus) of water in graduated pipette. Liquid volume measured by reading the scale at the bottom of the meniscus. The reading is 2.37 mL. GIPhotoStock / Getty Images

Meniscus Definition (Chemistry)

A meniscus is 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.

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.

Also Known As: menisci, meniscuses

Examples: 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 Definition (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 the outward curve is greater than the inward curve, the lens acts as a magnifier and has a positive focal length.

Meniscus Definition (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 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. "Meniscus Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo, May. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/definition-of-meniscus-605883. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, May 16). Meniscus Definition and Examples. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-meniscus-605883 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Meniscus Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-meniscus-605883 (accessed January 17, 2018).