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Interface (chemistry)

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Interface (chemistry)

An interface is a surface forming a common boundary among two different phases of matter, such as an insoluble solid and a liquid, two immiscible liquids, a liquid and an insoluble gas or a liquid and vacuum. The importance of the interface depends on the type of system: the bigger the quotient area/volume, the more effect the surface phenomena will have. Therefore interfaces are very important in systems with big area to volume ratios, such as colloids.

Interfaces can be flat or curved. For example oil droplets in a salad dressing are spherical but the interface between water and air in a glass of water is mostly flat.

Surface tension is the function which rules interface processes involving liquids.

Interfaces may cause various optical phenomena, such as refraction. Optical lenses serve as an example of a practical application of the interface between glass and air.

One important interface is the gas liquid interface between aerosols and other atmospheric molecules.

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