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adhesion and cohesion

adhesion and cohesion, attractive forces between material bodies. A distinction is usually made between an adhesive force, which acts to hold two separate bodies together (or to stick one body to another) and a cohesive force, which acts to hold together the like or unlike atoms, ions, or molecules of a single body. However, both forces result from the same basic properties of matter. A number of phenomena can be explained in terms of adhesion and cohesion. For example, surface tension in liquids results from cohesion, and capillarity results from a combination of adhesion and cohesion. The hardness of a diamond is due to the strong cohesive forces between the carbon atoms of which it is made. Friction between two solid bodies depends in part upon adhesion.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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