Friday, December 2, 2011

Beautiful Bottle Science!

This experiment was so fun and amazing to look at for both myself and Tyler. From toddlers through teenagers, there's something for everyone to learn. I plan to do this one again and take video of what happens. Highly recommended!
To run this experiment, you'll need the following:

Vegetable oil
Rubbing alcohol
Glass jar with cap/lid
Glitter and any other shiny objects you'd like
Food coloring (optional)
Funnel (optional but really helpful)

 1. Fill the jar about 1/4 of the way with rubbing alcohol

2. Add a drop of food coloring if desired

3. Fill the rest of the jar with vegetable oil, leaving about an inch of room at the top

4. Watch as the rubbing alcohol on the bottom rises up to the top. Lots of cool bubbles are created! Let them settle before moving on to the next step.

4. Add your objects. We used little beads 

The bubble blobs that came up when dropping the beads were so cool! It was like a lava lamp!

I don't have a picture of the glitter going in, but I highly recommend pouring it in rather than shaking it. The glitter raced down in one swirly line almost like a tornado. It looked so cool!

We added our food coloring after this having forgotten it earlier. It didn't seem to make a difference as it still went into the alcohol on top. I bet the oil/alcohol switch would have looked even more amazing with it though!

5. Fill the rest of the bottle with vegetable oil, right up to the rim. Screw the lid on tightly!

6. Roll and spin the bottle and be amazed!

7. Shake the bottle. The oil and alcohol mix to form this milky fluid while the glitter spins around one way around the edge of the bottle and differently inside.

 For some reason our beads didn't spin as dramatically as they were supposed to but it didn't matter, the glitter show was definitely enough!

Ty experimented with letting the liquid settle a bit (it never really got back to it's original/separated state), flipping it, turning it and shaking it all over again. It truly had us both mesmerized! If we had enough vegetable oil on hand we would have grabbed another jar and done it again! We let it settle for 24 hours then played again and it was still amazing!

I accidentally discovered this activity on the "Exploratorium" website, a fantastic looking science museum in San Fransico California. For all of the steps and more in-depth explanations about the science behind this experiment (which I only briefly touched on with Ty at this age), you can visit their website.