Experiments with KVRR Meteorologist Scott Sincoff: Hammer of Science

Fun, Easy, Kid-Friendly Science Experiments

This week, Meteorologist Scott Sincoff tested the Hammer of Science on a non-Newtonian Fluid with Concordia Science Academy Coordinator, Dr. Graeme Wyllie.

Here’s What You Need:

  • Loaf Tin
  • Water
  • Corn Starch
  • Mallet or Hammer of some kind

How to Conduct the Experiment:

We’re going to use two simple ingredients – corn starch and water. With this, we’re going to create something called a non-Newtonian fluid. A lot of people are familiar with the three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. This, however, is going to be both a solid and a liquid.  It is commonly called oobleck because the name comes from a Dr. Seuss book.

What we’re going to do is throw some corn starch into a loaf tin, and this is a great one where you mess around with the amounts and ratios of the corn starch and water, you can change the properties.

Our recipe is approximately 2 parts corn starch to 1 part water. It’s also a good experiment to go in and get your hands dirty, and it helps if a friend is there as well to add more water if need be. We’re going to keep mixing the corn starch into the water and the trick here is to get your fingers into the corners of the loaf tin and make sure everything is mixed all the way through. We call that homogenous. It’s going to thicken up and get kind of stretchy when you put your hands through it. When you stretch it, you can kinda feel like it has the structure of a solid but also has a watery texture similar to a liquid.

The real test to see if this substance is a liquid or a solid is to see if we can hit it with the hammer of science. It definitely feels like a liquid because I can sink my hand into it, but if it’s solid, the hammer will recoil. And the hammer recoils!

What we can see is that the substance is acting like a solid when we hit it fast enough. When you go in nice and slow and let your hands sink in, it acts as a liquid. It’s known as a non-Newtonian fluid.

Categories: Community, Morning – Features, Morning – In The Community, Weather Blog, Weather Notes