1. n. [Drilling Fluids]
Surface free energy that exists between a liquid and air. Surface tension can be observed as a curved meniscus in a small tube of the liquid. This energy barrier prevents a liquid (such as water) from spontaneously mixing with air to form a foam. To make a foam, as used for a drilling fluid, the liquid's surface tension must be lowered by adding a third component (a foamer) that accumulates at the interface. Foam preparation usually requires mechanical energy to break up the bulk liquid into thin films around each gas bubble.
See: emulsion, emulsion mud, HLB number, interfacial tension, invert emulsion, invert-emulsion oil mud, meniscus, oil mud, oil/water ratio