Science from home: Fireworks in a glass

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What you need:

  • Clear cup or jar
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Water based food coloring
  • (Optional) second smaller container

Steps:

  1. Fill your clear cup or jar about 2/3 the way full with water
  2. In a second, smaller bowl, add a few tablespoons of oil
  3. Add drops of food coloring into the oil and watch results
  4. Stir up the oil & food coloring, then watch results
  5. Carefully add the oil and food coloring
  6. Let sit and watch results

Steps (One container):

  1. Fill your clear cup or jar about 2/3 the way full with water
  2. Add a layer of oil on top of the water
  3. Add drops of food coloring into the oil and watch results

The science:

When the food coloring is added to the oil, the two instantly separate and we get little balls of color. That is because the food coloring is water based (which means that it is basically colorful water) and since oil and water are bonded together differently, they do not mix.

When you stir up the cup with the oil and water, you get smaller balls of color because you split up the water molecules, but they still do not mix with the oil.

You probably also noticed that the balls of color sink. That is because the oil is less dense than the water in the food coloring.

This is why when we combine the oil into the water, oil floats to the top.

But, sine the food coloring is water based, it is more dense than the oil and begins to sink. Once the food coloring bubbles hit the water, they pop, mixing in with the water and creating what looks like fireworks as the color spreads.

Once all of the bubbles have popped, you’ll notice that the water has changed color, but the oil looks the same. That is because the water molecules mix and change the color of the water. The oil however stays lighter and unchanged floating on top.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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