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I tried to reproduce the capillary action and measure how high the water rises. So far, I've tried unsuccessfully with a regular drinking straw and a very narrow plastic tube with an internal diameter of about 0.5mm. Does the tube have to be glass for it to work?

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Few things in chemistry are truly unique. The tube does not have to be glass; it only has to be wettable, which glass typically is and plastic typically isn't.

In the tubes made of non-wettable materials, capillary action works the other way: the liquid will go down rather than up, akin to Hg on the picture provided.

Capillary action (source)

So it goes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I'll try it with the glass tube inside a weather thermometer. $\endgroup$ – spikes May 30 '18 at 22:45

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