Oobleck is one of many materials called non-Newtonian fluids. Most fluids move faster when they are pushed harder, but Oobleck (and other non-Newtonian fluids) moves slower when more force or pressure is applied. When you slowly stir the Oobleck it behaves like a liquid. The same force applied quickly makes it act more like a solid.
In this activity, kids will learn about non-Newtonian fluids and make Oobleck! Using the Oobleck that they create, children will test out their non-Newtonian fluid with an egg drop.
Kids will be exploring: Can Oobleck protect an egg? Is it a gooey liquid or a strong solid? Note: You’ll be using plastic bags to collect the eggs if they break – so that means you can enjoy scrambled eggs after your experiment!
First, let’s find out all about this goo that can be a solid and a liquid at the same time, and then follow the steps below to make it yourself!
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Plastic Bowl
- Measuring Cup
- Mixing Spoon
- Plastic Bags (2 large, 1 small)
- 2 Uncooked Eggs
- Plastic Tablecloth or Newspapers
- Food Dye (optional)
- Adults – Help your children prepare the Ooze! Mix 1 cup of cornstarch into the plastic bowl.
- If you’re using food dye in this activity, add several drops of food dye to half a cup of water.
- Slowly add the water to the cornstarch and mix with a spoon. Note: when making the ooze, you may need to adjust the amount of water. The ooze solution should harden when pressure is applied but otherwise will flow like a liquid.
- Kids, play with the Oobleck! What do you notice about this funny material? Try tapping or squeezing the Oobleck! Is it a solid or a liquid? If you get messy with the Oobleck, you should dunk your hands into a tub of water before washing in a sink.
Note: Empty all Oobleck directly into the trashcan or compost, NOT the sink. Oobleck can clog a sink if too much is put down the drain. If saved for more than a few days Oobleck can begin to smell, so throw it out promptly
Time To Experiment!
- Put one of your eggs into a large plastic bag. Zip it up.
- Pour about half of your Oobleck into the other large plastic bag.
- Place the other egg into the small plastic bag.
- Add the small plastic bag (with the egg) to the large bag that holds the Oobleck and zip it up.
- Hold both large bags about 8 inches over a table.
- Line the eggs up so they are the same height off the table.
- Drop both bags at the same time.
What happens? Do both eggs break?
What Is Happening?
When you quickly apply a lot of pressure to Oobleck, like tapping or squeezing, it firms up like a solid. When no pressure is applied, it flows like a liquid.
When it hits the ground, a quick direct force is applied to the Oobleck. The cornstarch clumps together and hardens like a solid, absorbing the impact and protecting the egg. Then the Oobleck quickly goes back to acting like a liquid!
The characteristics of Oobleck are used when developing Nanotechnology. First, let’s explore just WHAT is Nano. Watch the video below before proceeding.
How Is This Nano?
The way a material behaves on the macroscale is affected by its structure on the nanoscale. Changes to a material’s molecular structure are too small to see directly, but we can sometimes observe corresponding changes in a material’s properties.
Nanotechnology takes advantage of the way things behave differently at the nanoscale to make new products and applications.
Researchers have developed new fabrics made with shear-thickening fluids (STFs) that contain suspended nano-sized particles. This new material displays non-Newtonian behavior similiar to that of Oobleck. The fabrics are used in a variety of technologies, from flexible body armor to protective (and fashionable) winter hats.
Nanotechnology takes advantage of the way things behave differently at the nanoscale to make new products