Gutters, Gutter Guards and Surface Tension

The main purpose of a rain gutter is to protect a building’s foundation by channeling water away from its base. They also help to reduce erosion, prevent leaks in basements and crawlspaces, protect painted surfaces by reducing exposure to water, and provide a means to collect rainwater for later use.

If your rain gutters and downspouts are working properly they will prevent roof and fascia board damage as well as prevent basement flooding by re-routing water a safe distance away from your foundation. But left to their own, rain gutters can clog, grow weeds and fungus, and overflow causing all sorts of problems for homeowners.

Surface Tension Guttering System

Cold forming technology exists to allow continuous gutters to be created, on site, in long individual lengths suitable to roof edge conditions, thereby reducing joints along the length of the gutter. These mostly joint free gutters are referred to as “seamless”, and available in various shapes, sizes, and finishes.

Surface Tension

Surface tension is measured as the energy required to increase the surface area of a liquid by a unit of area. The surface tension of a liquid results from an imbalance of intermolecular attractive forces, the cohesive forces between molecules:

  • A molecule in the bulk liquid experiences cohesive forces with other molecules in all directions.
  • A molecule at the surface of a liquid experiences only net inward cohesive forces.

A microscopic view of water illustrates the difference between molecules at the surface of a liquid and water molecules within a liquid.

The molecules at the surface of this sample of liquid water are not surrounded by other water molecules. The molecules inside the sample are surrounded by other molecules. The unbalanced attraction of molecules at the surface of a liquid tends to pull the molecules back into the bulk liquid leaving the minimum number of molecules on the surface. It required energy to increase the surface area of a liquid because a larger surface area contains more molecules in the unbalanced situation.

Adhesive Forces

Forces of attraction between a liquid and a solid surface are called adhesive forces. The difference in strength between cohesive forces and adhesive forces determine the behavior of a liquid in contact with a solid surface.

  • Water does not wet waxed surfaces because the cohesive forces within the drops are stronger than the adhesive forces between the drops and the wax.
  • Water wets glass and spreads out on it because the adhesive forces between the liquid and the glass are stronger than the cohesive forces within the water.

Formation of a Meniscus

The mensicus of water The mensicus of mercury
When liquid water is confined in a tube, its surface (meniscus) has a concave shape because water wets the surface and creeps up the side. Mercury does not wet glass – the cohesive forces within the drops are stronger than the adhesive forces between the drops and glass. When liquid mercury is confined in a tube, its surface (meniscus) has a convex shape because the cohesive forces in liquid mercury tend to draw it into a drop.

Capillary Action

Capillary action is the rise of a liquid that wets a tube up the inside of a small diameter tube (i.e., a capillary) immersed in the liquid.

  • The liquid creeps up the inside of the tube (as a result of adhesive forces between the liquid and the inner walls of the tube) until the adhesive and cohesive forces of the liquid are balanced by the weight of the liquid.
  • The smaller the diameter of the tube, the higher the liquid rises.

The Surface Tension Guttering System is a new guttering system that uses the surface tension properties of water to provide a separation, keeping the water in and the leaves out. The Surface Tension Guttering System is a new guttering system, not just an add-on like mesh or grating.

No More Cleaning Gutters…Ever!

With this guttering system:
• There is no more cleaning gutters
• No leaves = no rust, longer gutter life
• Reduction in the risk of fire
• Reduction in the amount of organic matter that would flow into rainwater tanks
• Mosquito lava cannot develop in the pools of water in the gutter as the gutters are clear and free flowing and not blocked with leaves
• In snowy areas the snow will slide over the gutter and in the summer months the gutter will function in the normal way

Gutters and Gutter Guards are definitely not something that can be looked at with a one size fits all approach; when you’re choosing a gutter system, make sure that you know what your options are and which will be best for your needs – and make sure that you’ve got the right Minnesota Gutter Company installing them.

Also, feel free to ask your installer about a rainwater collection barrel. It is another way to reduce water and sprinkler system costs associated with watering your lawn or garden.

COVID-19 Update

We are open and following all recommended state and national safety recommendations during this time. We can also operate 100% contact free from consultation to job completion if you prefer.
Thank you for your business, and we wish you and your family continued health and safety!
Tim Hanson
Owner, Minnesota Leafless Gutters

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