Layering Liquids: Explore Density Science
Density—or mass per volume—of a liquid is an important scientific concept that can be viewed with the naked eye. We see it all the time with oil and water. Oil has a different density than water so the two liquids do not mix. In this liquid density experiment your child will look at a number of liquids with different densities and compare them all to water. She'll build her science skills and learn a fundamental scientific concept she'll use for years to come.
What You Need:
- Light corn syrup
- Vegetable oil
- Dawn dish soap (blue, and the brand is important)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Large clear glass
- Food coloring
- Turkey baster
- Plastic cups
What You Do:
- Help your child put some rubbing alcohol into one of the plastic cups and drop some blue food coloring into it until the alcohol becomes dark blue. In a separate plastic cup, do the same with the water except add green coloring to it. In another cup, add orange food coloring to some corn syrup.
- Squeeze some honey into the bottom of your large glass. Just enough to give a thin layer; keep in mind that your glass will need to hold 6 different layers of liquid.
- Next have your child add the corn syrup. Pour this from the cup and try to pour it slowly and into the middle of the large glass.
- Have your child pour the dish soap in next, remembering to pour it into the middle of the glass.
- Use your baster to add water to the next level.
- Pour in vegetable oil next.
- Finally, help your child use the baster to add the rubbing alcohol.
- Now you should have 6 layers of density.
What's Going On?
Why don’t the liquids all blend together? It's because each of the liquids has a different density! Karo syrup = 1.33. Water with food coloring = 1.00. Vegetable Oil = 0.91. Dish soap = 1.03. Honey = 1.36. Rubbing alcohol = 0.87. The various densities allow you to "stack" liquids on top of each other, resulting in an experiment that is both visually stunning and informative!