Dancing Water Droplets
With this week's fun family science activity, you can create an exciting visual display using water and food coloring!
How do water droplets react on a surface material? Do they roll off? Do they disperse? Do they move together? How do they react to each other? Depending on the surface material and the liquid, you may find that droplets move in a variety of different ways. These patterns of movement demonstrate several different science principles.
What determines whether droplets spread out, combine, pool together, or even seem to dance about? In this hands-on science activity, families experiment with physics, water, food coloring, and heated glass to create a colorful and mesmerizing visual display.
Explore the various properties that determine how water will move with this fun family-friendly physics activity:
- Dancing Droplets (science activity at Scientific American)
This week's family science activity is not only about surface tension, but surface tension comes into play in what families may observe as they experiment with the water droplets. For other hands-on science projects related to surface tension and liquids, see the following Science Buddies resources:
- Make a Milk Rainbow
- Explore Magnification with a Drop of Water
- Measuring Surface Tension with a Penny
- Investigating Surface Tension with Paper Fish (classroom activity)
- Powering a Raft with Surface Tension
- Colorful Family Science for St. Patrick's Day
- Fascinating Physics of Fluids and Surface Movement
To learn more, see the following resources:
- Tiny Internal Tornadoes Bring Drops to Life (New York Times)
- Stanford Scientists Get To The Bottom Of Why Droplets Dance (video above)
- 2 Common Liquids Spontaneously Form Dancing Droplets (Scientific American)