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?


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.

  • $\begingroup$ 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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