The theoretical behavior of a hypothetical fluid cell in contact with flat and curved solid surfaces is discussed from the point of view of surface tension.
An equation is derived for calculating the equilibrium position of the cell on a flat surface in terms of the surface tensions between the cell and the plasma, the plasma and the solid surface, and the solid surface and the cell. It is shown that the same equilibrium is predicted from consideration of the contact angle between the cell and the solid body.
The relative surface energy has been calculated at various stages in the ingestion of a solid particle by a fluid cell four times as large in diameter, and it is thus shown that no particle will be ingested until the surface tensions are such that the cell would spread to infinity on a flat surface of the same substance. Here again the same equilibrium is predicted from considerations of the contact angle.
The adhesiveness of blood cells to solid substances is shown to be a pure surface tension phenomenon, but in most reactions between living cells and solid bodies the fluidity of the protoplasm is also a factor of prime importance.
The frequent occurrence of adhesiveness as a property of cells in contact with solid bodies is due in part to the fact that, by so adhering, the surface area of the cell not touching the solid is decreased.