Water Striders & Surface Tension *
AbstractWater striders (also called water bugs, pond skippers, etc.) are insects that can hop around on the surface of water (Figure 1). Unlike boats or other floating objects that are partially submerged and held up by the resulting buoyant force, water striders are held up by surface tension.
Figure 1. Water striders (image credit Isaka Yoji).
You can build your own water striders using thin wire (Figure 2). Do some background research about surface tension, and experiment with how different variables affect the performance of your water strider. What happens if you change the diameter of the wire, the length of the legs, or the number of legs? For advanced students, can you do calculations that determine how much weight the water strider should be able to support based on the size of the legs? How do these calculations compare to your experimental results?
Figure 2. Water strider built from copper wire.
Cite This PageGeneral citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Last edit date: 2019-01-26
- The National Wildlife Federation (n.d.). Water Striders. Retrieved May 30, 2018 from https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Water-Striders
- Nave, R. (n.d.). Surface Tension.Hyperphysics. Retrieved May 30, 2018 from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/surten.html
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