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I'm doing an experiment where I bring a probe very close to a well full of fluid and then very slowly lower it to obtain some force deformation values. The material behaves very much like a fluid and when I bring the probe close to the fluid, it sort of jumps up and grabs the probe and forms like a "column?" that actually pulls on the probe rather than pushing on it.

Anyway, I'm trying to coat the probe with an oil or something that will prevent this, but I don't know how to look into it because I don't know what its called or how its described in the literature. Any ideas on what this phenomena is called?

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Adhesion? There's probably a more technical term for it, that's just what I know from basic chem. – StuartHa Feb 20 '12 at 0:41
Surface tension? – user2963 Feb 20 '12 at 0:44

It's called adhesion. If the fluid you're working with is water, wax is a good option. It 'repels' water. In the general case, you want to maximise the contact angle for the liquid and the surface. For more water-repelling materials, see hydrophobe and superhydrophobe.

If the same experiment had to do with a jet of water sticking to a surface, it's called the Coandă effect. It's part of the actual reason that planes fly. You may also want to see the shower-curtain effect (this page has multiple reasons for a certain phenomenon, some of which you may want to look at)

Similar phenomena are cohesion and surface tension.

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Whoops. Updated; I didn't realise that the Coanda is only for a jet. – Manishearth Feb 20 '12 at 2:14

You may wish to try such words as "surface tension", "wettability", "capillary action".

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I think wetting is really what you are looking for. Of interest is the behaviour of the contact line, this is not described by surface tension alone – Bernhard Feb 20 '12 at 7:11

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