Sunday, 24 July 2016

Science Fun- Layering Liquids

We really enjoy hands on science experiments in our house, and one we've recently played with is density of different liquids.

We have thick plastic test tubes to use for our science experiments, and use them often.
Gathering materials found around the house, we began our experiment.
As usual, I asked the children what they thought would happen if we put all the liquids together in the tube.

The younger two thought they would all mix, while my oldest at 15 already knew what would happen and said he thought it would layer on top of each other.

Although I found the original idea in a book we have, for this experiment I found a couple of simple videos on YouTube, I watched them (the children weren't interested) and we got started.

First, We put together our stand for the test tubes, and starting with the heaviest liquid slowly poured it into the tube, being careful not to get it on the edges of the tube. Carefully one at a time we slowly Poured the other liquids one on top of the other, always careful to not spill or go to quickly.

The liquids stayed on top of one another! It was really neat, as I made sure to have contrasting liquids to see it better.

After seeing how that worked, we decided to See what would happen if we poured the liquids into a tube in s different order. Would it still make layers?

We poured it in a random order and waited. After about 15 minutes we noticed it was beginning to look like the first one and become layers of liquid one on top of the other, And they were in the same order as though we had put them into the tube in the same order. After several hours the liquids had separated completely and you could hardly tell which was which.

What we used:
Plastic test tubes
Golden corn syrup
Liquid soap

What we did:
Beginning with the corn syrup, we (and for the first try that meant myself) slowly poured the liquids into the tube. In order, the first tube contained: corn syrup, glue, water, bubble solution, vegetable oil (canola)

The order we put them in for the second tube was: vegetable oil (canola), bubble solution, water, corn syrup and glue.

How it works:

Just like solids, liquids have a mass. Their mass corresponds with the density, or how much "stuff" is packed into a certain volume of liquid.
Depending on how much "stuff" is packed into the liquid will make the liquid float on top of another (because it's lighter) or make it sink to the bottom of another (because it's heavier).

In other words, it's a comparison between an objects mass and its volume.


  1. Very cool! My kids are smaller than yours but they are starting to get into doing science stuff. I'll be keeping an eye on your posts on my G+ community! Thanks for joining. :D

  2. Thanks!
    I'm trying to keep up with some simple science activities posted, there will be more!