What Is Capillary Action?

Photo credit: USGS

Water in soil is absorbed by a plant’s roots and propelled upwards to the rest of its organs with absolutely no assistance.

The plant, to push along the water the nutrients to replenish its resources, does not issue any force to negate or overcome the pull of gravity. With no force to drive it, how in the world does the water rise against gravity? What sorcery is at play here?

Capillary Action

The startling rise of a liquid in a narrow tube is called capillary action or simply, capillarity. Capillary action has fascinated people so deeply, in fact, that Einstein’s first paper didn’t explore his esoteric theory of cause and effect or gravity, nor did it demonstrate the particle nature of light. Instead, it described his “Conclusions Drawn from Capillary Action,” a paper now obscured in the fame of his miracle year papers.

The Irish chemist Robert Boyle, intrigued by the observations of a “few inquisitive French men” as he put it, dipped a thin tube in red wine and witnessed how, unlike mercury, the wine rose to a certain height in the tube. Why do water and wine rise, as the French and […]

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What Is Capillary Action?
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What Is Capillary Action?
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Capillary action: plants don't apply any force to draw up water, counteracting gravity. With no force, how in the world does the water rise against gravity?
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Science ABC
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