Experiments with KVRR Meteorologist Scott Sincoff: Chromatography Blossoms

Fun, Easy, Kid-Friendly Science Experiments

This week, Meteorologist Scott Sincoff did a fun and easy science experiment with Dr. Graeme Wyllie, Coordinator of the Concordia Science Academy.

The experiment was a chromatography blossom.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Water Soluble or Washable Markers
  • Coffee Filters
  • Small Cup of Water about 3/4 full

How to do make a chromatography blossom:

Take a coffee filter and draw dots in a tight circle pattern in the middle of the coffee filter.

Carefully, punch a tiny hole in the center of the coffee filter.

Take another coffee filter and rip a piece off of it and roll it up into a ribbon. You don’t want the ribbon to be too long.

Push the ribbon into the the hole in the center of the coffee filter to create a blossom stem.

Place the blossom in the cup of water being careful that only the stem is in the water and watch the colors on the coffee filter move with the water.  (the water will move up the stem just like a real flower and spread out to the edges of the petals.

It takes about 10 minutes or so for the blossom to spread out and become a flower.

Take the blossom out of the water, remove the stem and allow to dry out.

Further Experiments:
The experiment works because the colors are water soluble and move with then water as it spreads out. What happens if you use permanent markers – do these spread out?

Do all colors move the same. Instead of a circle, cut a rectangle of coffee filter and place spots of different color in a line near the bottom. Put just a small amount of water in a cup and place the rectangle so the bottom just touches the water but the color spots are above the water line. As the water moves up, the spots will move. do they all move at the same speed?

Why not try other colored materials. Crayons or food colors  or even make-up can be used and some may move and some may not – it all depends on if they dissolve in the water.

Don’t forget to take lots of pictures of your experiments.

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