BrainStorms: Science with Scottlin – Fireworks in Milk

Science With Scottlin

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Fireworks are incredibly beautiful when they light up the night sky, but sometimes kids and pets don’t enjoy the noise.

In this experiment, we will make fireworks without the loud BOOM.

GRAB YOUR INGREDIENTS: food coloring, milk, dish soap, cotton swabs, and a plate. Most, if not all of these things can be found around the house.

STEP 1: Pour the milk into the plate. There is no specific measurement, but you want to be sure the entire surface is covered.

STEP 2: Add in different color droplets of food coloring. Put them towards the center of the plate, but far enough apart so that they do not mix.

STEP 3: Submerge one end of your cotton swab in dish soap, let it drop into the milk, and watch the reaction happen.

Science behind this experiment: We are combining a non-polar fat molecule with a hydrophilic micelle – basically putting soap in milk. The reaction of all the colors swirling is instantaneous and all works due to surface tension. Milk is made up of mostly water. Water molecules are attracted to each other, especially at the surface. These molecules are extra attracted to the ones next to and below, since there is only air above. This is what creates the surface tension. Then, we add the soap. These molecules break the water’s bond, which lowers surface tension. Liquids tend to flow away from low surface tension and towards high surface tension. That is when we get the dispersion. As for the swirls, the soap molecules are attracted to fat molecules within the milk, so as they move to clump together, we get our fireworks.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories