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Spaces Between Water Molecules: When 1 + 1 < 2 *

Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


Here's a chemistry project for a beginning scientist. You'll need two 100 ml graduated cylinders, rubbing alcohol, water and liquid food dye. (You can make your own measuring cylinder from a recycled jar: tape a vertical label on the jar and carefully add water 1/4-cup at a time; mark the level on the label with each addition.) Measure 50 ml of water. Add a drop or two of food coloring and mix. In the second cylinder, measure 50 ml of rubbing alcohol. Carefully pour this into the cylinder containing the colored water. What is the total volume? To find out what's going on, do some background research on "alcohol water solutions" (yes, sometimes liquids can dissolve in other liquids). Find out more about solutions of liquids, for example: what kinds of liquids dissolve in water, and what kinds do not? Make some predictions about other mixtures of liquids from around your house. Will they form solutions? Will the volume of the solution be more, less or the same as the individual liquids? With an adult's help, select and mix other pairs of liquids (e.g., cooking oil and water, alcohol and cooking oil). By the way, if you measure the weight of your solutions, you'll find that one plus one does equal two! (Van Cleave, 1989, 26-27)

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Science Buddies Staff. "Spaces Between Water Molecules: When 1 + 1 < 2" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Chem_p036.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Spaces Between Water Molecules: When 1 + 1 < 2. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Chem_p036.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30


VanCleave, J., 1989. Chemistry for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments That Really Work. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.

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I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.

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