Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

For example, paper's structural integrity decreases when it comes into contact with a liquid. What happens at the time of contact?

share|cite|improve this question

There are a great many descriptions of wetting action; you can read more here. If you are particularly interested in the wetting of paper, check out this question. If you have a more specific question, please clarify.

share|cite|improve this answer
I'm not sure that question mentions the change in structure of the paper, only what causes water to climb. Similarly the wikipedia article mentions what allows a surface to be wettened, but not structural effects. This doesn't really seem to address the question. – Jefromi Sep 13 '11 at 16:14
True, but the structural integrity was only provided as an example, it was not the focus of the question. The question was very broad and, IMHO, needs to be narrowed. – AdamRedwine Sep 13 '11 at 16:17

In the case of paper, fibers are connect to each other with hydrogen bonds. Water and humidity affect to these bonds and the fiber matrix loses its strength, or integrity.

In a more general way, water molecules tend to surround the charged particles (atoms, molecules) as they are polar.

Now, let these "charged particles" form the bonds of the material => water molecules surround them => particles bond with each other rather than other particles.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.