Surface Tension Experiment
Demonstrate the effect of detergent on the surface tension of water in this easy surface tension experiment.
Water Surface Tension
Explain to your children that there are forces of attraction between molecules of water. These seem to make a 'stretchy skin' on the surface of the water. This 'skin' is called a meniscus. They might enjoy pronouncing that word!
Products like soaps and detergents weaken or break these forces of attraction and help other substances to mix with water more easily. This helps us with cleaning and washing things like dishes, clothing and our bodies.
a bowl of water
Sprinkle a little talcum powder over the bowl of water.
The dishwashing liquid moves the talcum powder and spreads it out evenly towards the edges of the surface of the bowl of water, as it decreases the surface tension between the molecules. In plain language, it makes the meniscus more 'stretchy' than before.
This is a very quick and basic kids science experiment that demonstrates how soap reduces surface tension.
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