I was studying surface tension the other day and this thought came to my mind.

What would happen if say a liquid like mercury which has higher cohesive forces than adhesive ones(hence the convex meniscus) and another like water, which has higher adhesive forces than cohesive ones (hence the concave meniscus) were mixed together in a container? Would the resulting solution have higher cohesive forces or adhesive forces?

  • $\begingroup$ If you shake a bottle containing water & mercury, they separate very quickly after you stop shaking. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jun 26, 2020 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ Are you thinking the mercury will dissolve into the water? $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking "What would happen if you mixed mercury and water", or "What would the properties of the homogeneous mixture between two liquids be"? $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ I meant take 2 liquids that are miscible but one has greater adhesive force while the other has greater cohesive force $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ And i am thinking about the properties of a homogeneous mixture of 2 miscible liquids $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


they will mot mix together, but will separate into two separate phases. In this case, all the mercury globules will draw themselves together into one big glob. There will be a tiny amount of mercury dissolved into the water surrounding that glob (that's one phase) and a tiny amount of water dissolved into the mercury (that's the other phase).

  • $\begingroup$ (+1) As a retired chemistry professor, I can verify this is correct. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Oct 18, 2021 at 22:14

They won't mix together.They have different densities.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know the answer, but "different densities" probably is not the reason why two different liquids fail to form a solution or an emulsion. $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @SolomonSlow the op clearly states that two liquid forming a solution and as far as i know two different liquids with different densities cant form a solution. Please correct me if i am wrong. $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ ...And I don't know why density would matter. Density is a bulk property. A solution is homogeneous at the molecular level, and molecules don't have "density." But I am not an expert. Mostly just an armchair observer here. $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ All my rep is from answering newbie questions. It's a different skill from knowing how to do physics. $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2020 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ Olive oil and vinegar have almost identical densities, yet separate after shaking immediately. Density is NOT the driving force here. $\endgroup$
    – Gert
    Jun 26, 2020 at 15:35

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