Corn Starch & Water – Friday Fun with Frederick and Fleming

Friday Fun - Liquid or Solid

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In our weekly summer segment Friday Fun with Frederick & Fleming, we do different little science experiments that would be fun to do with your kids. The goal with all of these is to use things you could find around the house or pick up at almost any store for a very little amount of money.

In today’s segment had a non-newtonian liquid that can act as a solid.

Items Needed:

  • 1 lb box of corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cup of water

Instructions:

  1. Pour the box of cornstarch into a bowl.
  2. Add about a cup of water to the corn starch and start mixing.
  3. After a little mixing, add the rest of the water to the mix
  4. Play with your new solid liquid!

Science:

Corn starch is made up of long chains of atoms, which is called polymers. These polymers as they move slide against each other.  When moving slow, they slide fairly easily. When moving quickly, they get entangled and essentially it solidifies.  I read a good example.  Think of a busy sidewalk. If you slowly move between the people you will be able to get where you are going.  If you run straight into the crowd on the sidewalk, you will get caught up in the people and stopped.

Experiment Notes:

When you are ready to clean up, DO NOT pour the liquid down the drain. This will surely plug your drain.  Instead put it in the trash and throw it away.

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