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An interface is a surface forming a common boundary among two different phases of matter, such as an insoluble solid and a liquid, two immiscible liquids, a liquid and an insoluble gas or a liquid and vacuum. The importance of the interface depends on the type of system: the bigger the quotient area/volume, the more effect the surface phenomena will have. Therefore, interfaces are very important in systems with big area to volume ratios, such as colloids.
Surface tension is the function which rules interface processes involving liquids. For a liquid film on flat surfaces, the liquid-vapor interface keeps flat to minimize interfacial area and system free energy. For a liquid film on rough surfaces, the surface tension tends to keep the meniscus flat, while the disjoining pressure makes the film conformal to the substrate. The equilibrium meniscus shape is a result of the competition between the capillary pressure and disjoining pressure.
One important interface is the gas liquid interface between aerosols and other atmospheric molecules.
- Surface science
- Surface tension
- Membrane (disambiguation)
- Capillary surface, a surface that represents the boundary between two fluids
- Disjoining pressure
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