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Spaces Between Water Molecules: When 1 + 1 < 2

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
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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)


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

Science Buddies Staff. "Spaces Between Water Molecules: When 1 + 1 < 2." Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Chem_p036/chemistry/spaces-between-water-molecules. Accessed 30 May 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). Spaces Between Water Molecules: When 1 + 1 < 2. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Chem_p036/chemistry/spaces-between-water-molecules

Last edit date: 2017-07-28
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