Tensile strength of water

Abstract

THE measured tensile strength of water has long been known to be significantly less than theoretical predictions and the reduced strength is normally attributed to the presence of solid impurities that serve as nucleation sites for rupture of the liquid1. A favourite method of measuring tensile strength is through the dynamic stressing of a liquid by an acoustic field. At sufficiently large values of the peak negative acoustic-pressure amplitude the liquid ruptures and forms a rapidly growing vapour cavity that collapses violently during the positive portion of the cycle. This cavity collapse is normally violent enough to be observed easily with the unaided eye or ear. Such an event is termed the acoustic cavitation threshold and is a measure of the tensile strength of a liquid. Although some successes have been obtained in achieving measured values of the tensile strength comparable to theoretical predictions for extremely small samples2 or after extensive filtration3, I know of no current theory for the prediction of values of the dynamic tensile strength for ordinary distilled water. Using a modified version of a recent theory by Apfel4, an equation is presented here that correctly predicts the variation of the acoustic cavitation threshold of water with surface tension, dissolved gas content and temperature.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Harvey, E. N. et al. J. cell. comp. Physiol. 24, 1 (1944).

  2. 2

    Apfel, R. E. Nature 233, 119–121 (1971).

  3. 3

    Greenspan, M. & Tschiegg, C. J. Res. NBS 71 C, 299–312 (1967).

  4. 4

    Apfel, R. E. J. acoust. Soc. Am. 48, 1179–1186 (1970).

  5. 5

    Crum, L. Tech. Rept. No. 178 (Michelson Phys. Lab. U.S. Naval Academy, 1978).

  6. 6

    Strasberg, M. J. acoust. Soc. Am. 31, 163–176 (1959).

  7. 7

    Bargeman, D. & Van Voorst Vader, F. J. Coll. Sci. 42, 467–472 (1973).

  8. 8

    Bargeman, D. J. Coll. Sci. 40, 344–348 (1972).

  9. 9

    Adamson, A. W. Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, 113–139 (Interscience, New York, 1967).

  10. 10

    Furmidge, C. G. L. J. Coll. Sci. 17, 309–324 (1962).

  11. 11

    Galloway, W. I. J. acoust. Soc. Am. 26, 849 (1954).

  12. 12

    Crum, L. A. & Nordling, D. A. J. acoust. Soc. Am. 52, 294–301 (1972).

  13. 13

    Esche, R. Acustica 2, AB208–AB218 (1952).

  14. 14

    Lauterborn, W. Acustica 22, 48–53 (1969).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

CRUM, L. Tensile strength of water. Nature 278, 148–149 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1038/278148a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.