Capillary Rise

vCalc Reviewed
Equation / Last modified by KurtHeckman on 2018/06/01 13:25
vCalc.Capillary Rise

The Capillary Rise calculator equation computes the height of liquid in a small diameter tube due to capillary force on the liquid.  CapillaryRise-illustration.png

INSTRUCTIONS: Choose units and enter the following:

  • (σ) This is the surface tension of the fluid
  • (λ) This is the meniscus angle
  • (ρw) This is the density of the fluid
  • (R) This is the radius of the capillary tube

Capillary Rise (hc): The calculator returns the rise in meters.  However this can be automatically converted into other length units via the pull-down menu.

The Math / Science

The formula for the capillary rise is:

hc = (2·σ·cos(λ))/(ρ·g·R)


  • hc is the capillary rise
  • σ is the surface tension
  • λ is the meniscus angle
  • ρ is the density
  • R is the radius of the tube

Water, Rain and Snow Calculators:

The force on the fluid is caused by the attraction between the solid and the liquid which pulls the water up into the tube.  The water rises until the force of capillary attraction is offset by the force due to gravity on the water column.  The surface of the water in the tube meets the walls of the tube at a contact angle that is unique to the fluid, in this case water, creating a concave upper surface to the water.  The rise of the water is computed from the following:
 surface tension of the water

  • angle of the meniscus, the angle at which the water surface intersects the sides of the tube
  • density of the fluid
  • local acceleration due to gravity (assumed at sea level)
  • the radius of the tube