Science With Sabrina: Making Oobleck

We know that objects can either be a solid, liquid, or a gas. But, have you ever wondered if a substance can be placed into more than one of these categories? Meteorologist Sabrina Bates answers that question by making something called Oobleck in this week’s Science With Sabrina.

Before we make the Oobleck, let's review matter. A solid is an object that has a definite shape and size. Liquid has a definite size, but no definite shape. A gas has no definite size or shape. But, there are some unusual materials that can act like multiple states of matter. These are called non-newtonian fluids.

Non-Newtonian fluids are substances that don't behave like we expect them to. We're explaining why using cornstarch and water.

EXPERIMENT

It's a two to one ratio. I'm mixing 2 cups of cornstarch with one cup of water. I added some peppermints for a holiday Oobleck. Once completely mixed, it will feel like honey.

Now, I grab the Oobleck and form a ball. It becomes a solid.  When I release the pressure of my fist, the Oobleck becomes a liquid and runs through my fingers.

When I punch the Oobleck with a lot of force, it acts as a solid. Now, I slowly let my hand sink through the Oobleck with little force. It acts as a liquid.

The Oobleck flows at a different rate depending how much pressure is applied to it. It flows slower when there's a force and much faster when the force is removed.

Ketchup, honey, and toothpaste are also non-newtonian fluids because they act differently when stress is applied to them.

Segment Sponsored By: Sylvan Learning

-Sabrina

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