Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Will it sink or will it float?

Nicole started teaching 5-6th grade science this year, and we did a test run on an experiment at home tonight to make sure it would work. Apparently, acrylic beads are just the right density that is sinks in tap water and floats in water saturated with kosher salt. I have no idea why the experiment called for kosher salt, but it did and that's what we used. You can see nicely in exhibit A above, (the picture with the two cylinders), the left glass contains salt water and the acrylic ball floats, while it sinks in the tap water on the right. The picture above with the single glass shows the ball floating in the middle. I put the salt water in the bottom and gently poured the tap water in to keep them from mixing much. Just like oil and water, they stay separated enough for a while that the acrylic bead floats in the middle.

After our brief science experiment I found Daisy had ripped a hole in her favorite toy and was gutting it leaving that fluffy white stuff all over our living room. I was concerned it might be too late, but I took the chicken directly to the kitchen for an emergency repair with some 3-0 Nylon nonabsorbable sutures. I was able to repair the chicken's wounds, and within minutes the chicken was back being thrown wildly around. He will need some physical therapy for the first few days though.

Well, maybe we can keep finding some more science experiments to try and share. I want to test more stuff to see if it floats. David Letterman has a game called WIll it sink or will it float and it always amuses me. Does a can of peaches float? How about my cell phone? How about The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan? I think witches float.


cory said...

The Great Hunt will float because it is a great book. The fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eigth ones in the series, however, will sink ot the bottom of your interest pile with their endless march across the goddamn desert and neverending plot devices to ensure theres no resolution to the series. Ever.

Good job on the emergency chicken surgery.

Travis said...

"their endless march across the goddamn desert and neverending plot devices to ensure theres no resolution to the series. Ever."

I laughed hard at that. That is as nearly a perfect description of the series as I have ever hear.

The sick thing is, I kept reading on. I loved Richard, Kahlan was cool, the story eventually had to take off again, right? Uh, no. And I agree, Temple of the Winds through The Pillars of Creation stink and sink. However, the 8th book, Naked Empire, (which I tried to read mutliple times and still have never finished) is so devoid of any purposeful matter that it will simply absorb all the water and ruin the experiment.

Mary said...

Nice experiment. I have some others you could use that the Outreach committee uses at the middle school for demonstrations. I also have some things from Science Olympiad forensic events (CSI: Middle School). Also, diet soda floats and regular soda sinks.

Travis said...

Mary- I would like to hear of some other experiments. I think it is kind of fun and Nicole can take them to school.

Tony said...

I wish I knew how to make science experiments work... it would make my job as a scientist a lot easier.

I saw this thing on MythBusters where they put Mentos in a two liter bottle of diet soda and they would get a huge geyser of soda shooting out. It doesn't really have anything to do with density of liquids or sinking and floating but every 5th grader in the world is going to love it. Think about it.