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Have you ever seen a bug skate across the surface of water? This is made possible by the cohesion of water molecules on the surface of the water. When we say that water molecules are cohesive, we mean that they stick tightly to one another—so much so that they create surface tension. Because bugs weigh very little, they can rest their weight on the top of the water without breaking the tension—so to them, it is almost as if they’re standing on a solid surface! In this experiment, we’ll take something relatively heavy (a paperclip) and balance it on the surface of the water in order to demonstrate just how powerful surface tension can be.
Make a paperclip float in a bowl of water.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.