Experiments with KVRR Meteorologist Scott Sincoff: Layering Hot Water

Fun, Easy, Kid-Friendly Science Experiments

This week, Meteorologist Scott Sincoff worked with Ben Franklin Middle School Earth Science Teacher Barry Olson to create layers in water.

What we need for the experiment:

  • Boiling water
  • Room temperature water
  • Food coloring
  • Large tank with a barrier

How to conduct the experiment:

We’re going to take a look at how convection currents work in a liquid. They operate in liquids and gases. We’re going to focus on liquid water in this demonstration.

We have some room temperature water at 22°Celsius in one section of the tank. We have some hot, colored, boiling water at about 95° Celsius which we will pour into the second section of the container.

Now as we pull the gate up, we’re going to see the hot water move its way into the room temperature water. The hot water is going to rise to the top and then move across the tank. As it moves across the tank, it’s going to push the colder water down below it.  When the hot water reaches the other side, it will bounce back and return back up to the top and move back across in the other direction. We will eventually have two distinct layers; one being warm, and the other cooler.  This is how we can show a convection current in liquids.

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