(redirected from interfacial)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms.


1. Chem a surface that forms the boundary between two bodies, liquids, or chemical phases
2. an electrical circuit linking one device, esp a computer, with another
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(computer science)
Some form of electronic device that enables one piece of gear to communicate with or control another.
A device linking two otherwise incompatible devices, such as an editing terminal of one manufacturer to typesetter of another.
(physical chemistry)
The boundary between any two phases: among the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid), there are five types of interfaces: gas-liquid, gas-solid, liquid-liquid, liquid-solid, and solid-solid.
(science and technology)
A shared boundary; it may be a piece of hardware used between two pieces of equipment, a portion of computer storage accessed by two or more programs, or a surface that forms the boundary between two types of materials.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The common boundary, often a plane surface, between two bodies or materials.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A boundary across which two systems communicate. An interface might be a hardware connector used to link to other devices, or it might be a convention used to allow communication between two software systems. Often there is some intermediate component between the two systems which connects their interfaces together. For example, two EIA-232 interfaces connected via a serial cable.

See also graphical user interface, Application Program Interface.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


The connection and interaction between hardware, software and the user. Users "talk to" the software. The software "talks to" the hardware and other software. Hardware "talks to" other hardware. All this is interfacing. It has to be designed, developed, tested and redesigned; and with each incarnation, a new specification is born that may become yet one more de facto or regulated standard.

Hardware Interfaces
Hardware interfaces are the plugs, sockets, cables and electrical signals traveling through them. Examples are USB, FireWire, Ethernet, ATA/IDE, SCSI and PCI.

Software/Programming Interfaces
Software interfaces (programming interfaces) are the languages, codes and messages that programs use to communicate with each other and to the hardware. Examples are the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, SMTP email, IP network protocols and the software drivers that activate the peripheral devices.

User Interfaces
User interfaces are the keyboards, mice, commands and menus used for communication between you and the computer. Examples are the command lines in DOS and Unix, and the graphical interfaces in Windows, Mac and Linux.

Format & Function

Every interface implies a structure. Electrical signals are made up of voltage levels, frequencies and duration. The data passed from one device or program to another has a precise format (header, body, trailer, etc.).

Every interface implies a function. At the hardware level, electronic signals activate functions; data are read, written, transmitted, received, checked for error, etc. At the software level, instructions activate the hardware (access methods, data link protocols, etc.). At higher levels, the data transferred or transmitted may itself request functions to be performed (client/server, program to program, etc.).

Language & Programming

An interface is activated by programming language commands. The complexity of the functions and the design of the language determine how difficult it is to program.

User Interface, Protocol, API and ABI

The design of the interaction between the user and the computer is called a "user interface." The rules, formats and functions between components in a communications system or network are called "protocols." The language and message formats between routines within a program or between software components is called an "application programming interface" (API). The specification for an operating system working in a specific machine environment has been known as an "application binary interface" (ABI), but this term is not widely used.

All the above interactions are interfaces. Regardless of what they are called, they all create rules that must be precisely followed in a digital world.

A Whole Lot of Talking To
No matter what they're called, interfaces boil down to a format and language that defines the services one system is capable of delivering to another.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
3 we can observe that no large obvious Al nanoparticle conglobations and agglomerations exist, indicating improved interfacial bonding strength between the filler and matrix, and a uniform dispersion of the nanoparticles in the matrix; therefore, this increase in the permittivity can be ascribed to the fact that the silane coupler or PDA shell acts as a molecular bridge between the matrix and the filler, which effectively eliminates the voids and defects at the phase interfaces, and improves the interfacial adherence strength, thereby resulting in an enhanced dielectric permittivity [32], Furthermore, Al nanoparticles homogeneously dispersed in the matrix, are conducive to enhancing the interfacial polarizations resulting from enormous interfacial areas.
Then, a validation of the cross-section average void fraction, dispersed phase velocity, bubble size, and interfacial area concentration is performed.
According to Young's equation (1), the contact angle of liquid drop on solid surface is determined by the force balance between the interfacial tensions at the solid-liquid-gas interface:
The required force to pull out the fiber of cured epoxy resin is measured for each specimen and the interfacial shear strength [[tau].sub.IFSS] was estimated by [19, 20]
The above studies are mainly focused on the local interfacial characteristics of two-phase flow under the vertical condition.
As all emulsions prepared at the MECs had similar initial droplet diameters ([d.sub.43] = 0.29, 0.28, 0.29, 0.32, and 0.28 [micro]m for P10L-, P10S-, P20S-, P23L-, and P100S-stabilized emulsions, respectively) and the droplet sizes rarely changed after 21 days of storage, and any significant difference in the [alpha]-tocopherol decomposition rate between emulsions could not stem from an effect of the oil droplet interfacial area.
The cracks and the debonding whiskers occurred on the fracture surface of the raw CSW/PVC composite (Figure 8(a)) due to the poor interfacial adhesion between the smooth CSW and the PVC matrix, while CSW whiskers were connected closely with PVC matrix on the fracture surface of the hierarchical CSW/PVC composite (Figure 8(b)) owing to the enhanced interfacial adhesion between the hierarchical CSW and the PVC matrix.
If one presumes that these interfacial details are far smaller than the mesh size, smoothing features over at least one cell, the end result is a diffuse-interface treatment in an Eulerian framework [5].
Roughness level highly influences the interfacial strengths.
In this study, the effects of aging condition on the interfacial properties of the polyketone fiber reinforced natural rubber composite were investigated.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts controlled interfacial properties using two globular proteins with widely differing isoelectric points: lactoferrin (pI [approximately equal to] 8.5) and beta-lactoglobulin (pI [approximately equal to] 5).
A comparative study of pad size on the interfacial reaction between solder paste and surface finish of electroless nickel-electroless palladium-immersion gold on the organic substrate was performed and analyzed by observing the microstructure at the interface.