question from the book
Hey! So when we talk about surface tension, we say that it represents the toughness of the surface of a given liquid. In this case, we would look at the intermolecular forces present in the compounds given in this problem. The relationship between intermolecular forces and surface tension is: the stronger the intermolecular forces, the higher the surface tension. So we look at these compounds and notice that acetone's strongest intermolecular force is dipole-dipole due to the dipole moment present in the C and O. In water, the strongest intermolecular force present is hydrogen bonding.
Recall that hydrogen bonding is a stronger intermolecular force than dipole-dipole, so we say that water will have the greatest surface tension. Hope that helped!