Making YOU the Scientist: Density of Liquids Experiment

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A great physics density experiment that can be done in almost any setting: in the classroom, during home schooling, as an online learning density demonstration or just a fun science activity to do with the kids on the weekend. Everything you need you probably have around the house or you can get it with a quick trip to the grocery store.

The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate how the mixing of fluids is affected by their densities. This has applications for various fields, including oil spills where less dense oil floats on the more dense water, mixing and layering where fresh water from rivers flows onto the more dense salt water of the oceans, and what happens at the boundary between cold and warm air masses.

There is a full demonstration of this experiment on my Step by Step Science YouTube channel. Link to the video: https://tinyurl.com/2kns9ymp

Included are complete instructions and a worksheet that will guide your participants through this experiment as they prepare the materials, predict what will happen and observe the results.

What is density? Density is a physical property of matter. It is an expression of the ratio of an object’s mass to its volume. Therefore we often say that density is the amount of mass per unit of volume.

Possible topics for extending this experiment include:

(1) Air pressure and why the water does not spill out of the jars when they are turned over.

(2) The mixing and non-mixing of polar and non-polar liquids.

(3) Buoyancy and whether an object will float or sink in a fluid.

(4) Specific gravity as the definition of a material’s density to a given reference material.

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Total Pages
4 pages
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