Science With Sabrina: Walking Water

We know that water provides nutrients to the trees and plants around us. But, what about the steps of getting from the dirt to the leaves? Meteorologist Sabrina Bates conducts an experiment showing how liquid can move against gravity, causing water to “walk”.

THE EXPERIMENT

You'll want to fill half of the clear cups with water and add different colored-dye to each. Then, fold paper towels into a "V" shape to connect the cups!

Overtime, you'll watch the water climb up the paper towel and into the other cup. After a while, the water will begin to fill the other cup with a secondary color. This is how the water "walks"!

THE SCIENCE

This is because of capillary action. Scientists define it as the ability of a liquid to move in porous spaces because of the forces of cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension. We're making it even simpler by relating it to foliage. Paper towels are made of cellulose fibers, which are also found in plants.

The water flowed upwards through the tiny gaps between all of the cellulose fibers. The gaps in the paper towel act like capillary tubes in plants, pulling the water upwards.

Segment Sponsored By: Sylvan Learning

-Sabrina

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