surface tension

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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: emulsionemulsion mudHLB numberinterfacial tensioninvert emulsioninvert-emulsion oil mudmeniscusoil mudoil/water ratio