BrainStorms: Science with Scottlin – Oobleck

Science With Scottlin

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In this experiment, we will create a non-newtonian substance that acts as a solid when it moves quickly and a liquid when it moves slowly. In other words, we are making Oobleck! As in the Dr. Seuss book, Bartholomew and The Oobleck.

GRAB YOUR INGREDIENTS: 2 cups of corn starch, a spoon, a big bowl, 1 cup of warm water, and craft sticks. As with anything, a little color will make it a bit more fun so we added food coloring but this is optional. Also optional are gloves, since we touch the Oobleck with our hands. Most, if not all of these things can be found around the house.

STEP 1: Pour 2 cups of corn starch into the big bowl and give it a stir with a craft stick. This is to break up any large pieces.

STEP 2: Take the optional food coloring and mix a few drops into the water.

STEP 3: Pour and mix this into the corn starch. Keep mixing until all the corn starch has dissolved.

NOTE: You have to put a little muscle into stirring this, so you may want to use a bigger, non-plastic spoon. Once most of it has mixed, you can use you hands to do the rest.

Science behind this experiment: Oobleck is a non-newtonian substance because it acts as neither a solid or a liquid. If you pick up the Oobleck and keep it moving, it will remain as a solid. As soon as you stop, it turns into liquid form. You may ask how or why this is. At rest, smaller water particles can easily flow around suspended long starch particles, so it acts as a liquid. When we quickly apply force, the starch particles get pushed so close, so they stick together acting as a solid. Another non-newtonian fluid such as ketchup acts the opposite, as it becomes less viscous under stress.

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