Water defeats gravity, water starts climbing up when you touch a piece of cloth/paper on the water surface. This happens due to capillary action of water. Capillary action is an important ability of water to move through other materials. Water is not the only liquid that can do this, but its properties make it better at capillary action. Water is good at capillary action, better than most liquids because, How well a liquid can perform the capillary action depends on cohesion and adhesion. Cohesion and adhesion Cohesion – the attraction between particles of the same type. Adhesion – the attraction between two different particles. Physics behind it Capillary action, occurs when intermolecular bonding between water molecules and molecules of another material is greater than the intermolecular bonding among water molecules themselves. (In simple terms – when adhesive forces become greater than cohesive forces. ) And when it happens water will tend to spread over the surfaces of the other material, even climbing against gravity to do so. Cohesion among the water molecules will act along those water molecules not in direct contact with the material, and SURFACE TENTION will hold the water together as it sticks to the surface. Adhesion may be strong enough to raise the water against gravity. If a material is porous enough(paper/cloth) the water can continue to climb for quite a distance. But on a smooth non-porous surface, the water will stop climbing when the weight of the cohered water is greater than the adhesion can support. Some routine practices of capillary effect common in every day life • Water is the basis of most liquids that we use every day. When you use a paper tissue to clean a spilled drink or use a towel to dry yourself after a shower, you are using capillary action. • If you put a narrow straw into a glass of water, you observe about the level of water in the straw as compared to in the glass, that the water has climbed up the straw and is higher than the level of water in the glass. It seems to have defied gravity by moving up the straw. • When you put cut flowers in a vase of water, capillary action keeps them fresh.