Thursday, September 26, 2013

SET: The floating paperclip

This one was really neat for the little monkeys and adults as well ;)

You will need:

-A clear bowl
-A paperclip
-A pencil with an eraser
-A small tissue or paper towel

We first simply tried to float the paperclip in the bowl of water, but it would just sink to the bottom:

You then place a piece of tissue in the bowl of water and place the paperclip on top of the tissue.  With the eraser side of the pencil, gently push the tissue away from the paperclip (or you could even wait for the tissue paper to fall away on its own):

What's left is a floating paperclip!

This works due to surface tension, which is essentially sticky water.  Water molecules behave differently at the surface because there's no upward motion.  The result is surface tension and it's the reason bugs can stay afloat on the water.  The surface tension is always there and my hubby was determined to have the paperclip float simply by putting it in with his fingers without using the tissue.  

You can do this easily enough by turning your hand palm facing up, placing the paperclip on your index and middle finger, and gently lowering the paperclip into the water.  You will actually feel the surface tension at work and, if you do it slowly enough, the paperclip will float.  The tissue in this experiment simply helps kids place the paperclip onto a surface. 

A very neat way to see surface tension in action; and a way to impress adults at your next get-together as well?! 

1 comment :

  1. nice way of study material as well as Floating Paper Clips for kids.