Science Fun: Non-Newtonian Fluid

solid-and-liquid One of our good friends is an engineer for the Army. On a visit to their house a few years ago, he wowed all the kids by making a substance for them that was liquid in the bowl, but turned to solid when you applied pressure to it. These types of solutions are called ‘Non-Newtonian Fluids’ and they are really cool!

The best part is that they are super easy to make. All you need is 1 cup of water and 1 1/2-2 cups of cornstarch. Start by mixing in 1 1/2 cups of the cornstarch to 1 cup of water. If the mixture is too runny, add in more cornstarch a little at a time. We usually find that 1 part water to 2 parts cornstarch works best. You can add in a little food coloring as well if you’re feeling really creative. 🙂

Mix well with a fork or whisk

Mix well with a fork or whisk

Once you mix the water and the cornstarch, you will have a soupy liquid in your bowl. Have the kids push down on the surface with their finger and they can feel it turn to a solid! They can also scoop the liquid into their hands, but when they rub their hands together it will become solid.

Rub your hands together to turn it into a solid

Rub your hands together to turn it into a solid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This can be a messy experiment, so I would have the kids play with it outside or over a non-carpeted area. My two still love to make this and play around with it, even though it’s been years since they first saw it. It’s a great boredom buster for summer afternoons, and the kids love to amaze their friends with it as well.

For those of you science geeks like my friend, you can read all the scientific explanation of non-Newtonian fluids on Wikipedia.