bwayne314 (1854406) writes "We have been having a debate at the lab about mechanics of water and leaky bottles that I am hoping you slashdotters might be able to put to rest.
One group claims that capping a bottle or tube with water residue on the seal will cause some water molecules to remain in the seal and allow liquid from the container to leak out (under certain conditions, like shipping) despite being tightly closed. They call this phenomenon, "creating a river" and opening and drying of the the seal on such a bottle would prevent a leak.
The other faction thinks that any bottle that leaks, simply has a poorly fitting seal and that closing a wet bottle with a proper seal should push any water residue either into or out of the bottle. The distinction here is that there should not be a difference between capping a bottle that is dry vs. capping one that is wet.
So what happens on a molecular level in this situation and who is correct?"