Science with Shields: Episode #2 – Oobleck

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ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how to make Oobleck. 

What you need: 

  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Corn Starch
  • Food Coloring (optional)

Instructions:

This experiment can get messy! It is easy to clean up though. Also, if you love reading, the Oobleck Experiment gets its name from a Dr. Seuss book called Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Check it out!

First, you want to put some cornstarch into the bowl. Next, put some food coloring into your cup of water. The food coloring can be any color, but traditionally Oobleck is green. 

You will then want to slowly add water to the cornstarch and mix it as you are going. No real measurements are needed. Try it out with varying amounts of water or cornstarch to see how it changes.

As you slowly mix the two together, eventually it will be enough that you can pick it up and mold it into a ball. Once you mold it into a ball, if it is the right consistency, once you stop, the oobleck should ooze back through your fingers. 

In the bowl, continue to mix it slowly, you can see it is a liquid. However, if you try to forcefully put your hand into it, it will act more like a solid! That is because when you mix water and cornstarch together, the molecules are in suspension and can switch from a solid to a liquid state. Congrats! You have made Oobleck!

Science: 

Cornstarch and water when mixed acts sometimes like a solid or sometimes like a liquid. The molecules are in suspension. Typically, you can change the state of molecules from heating or cooling, in this case the molecules change from force instead. This is considered a non- Newtonian fluid. 

When force is applied, it makes it semi rigid, when pressure is released it can then flow again. We use viscosity to measure this. Viscosity is considered the measurement of thickness or resistance to flow in a fluid. 

Over the next couple of weeks we will continue to experiment with Non-Newtonian Fluids! Tune in on Tuesday’s at 10:30 AM.

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