Density differences cause objects come “float” in liquids that are already stacked on height of each other.

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With this science-magic trick, you’ll placed a brand-new spin on our famous density Column demonstration. First, you’ll uncover how to stack ripe layers of liquids on top of each other. The alone looks yes, really cool, yet then you take it it increase a notch by making different solid objects “float” in the middle of all those cool looking stack liquids. You’ll surprise yourself and also your friends v what you can do with the 9-Layer density Tower.

Experiment Materials

Liquid Materials, 1.5 come 3.5 oz (50 come 100 ml) of each: honey Corn Syrup 100% Maple Syrup whole Milk dish Soap Water vegetables Oil Rubbing Alcohol desk lamp Oil various other Materials: 1 Quart (1L) container – tall, narrow, clear 9, 4 oz (118 ml) plastic cups Turkey baster Food coloring steel bolt Popcorn kernel Board game die Cherry tomato Plastic beads Plastic soda cap Ping-Pong™ round

Pour equal amounts of each liquid in the cups. Every the amounts must be the same. You might want to collection the cup in the stimulate you’ll add them right into the container: honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, whole milk, dish soap, water, vegetable oil, rubbing alcohol, and also lamp oil. Include food coloring to the water and also the rubbing alcohol for contrast so castle stand out in the finished column.


Start your tower by pouring the honey into the cylinder. It’s very important to slowly layer the honey, corn syrup, and also maple syrup into the facility of the cylinder. Take her time. Also, make sure they nothing touch the political parties of the cylinder together you pour. It’s it s okay if the liquids mix a little as you are pouring. The layers will certainly slowly also themselves out because of their differing densities.


Use the turkey baster to carefully layer the milk and the food soap. Again, don’t let the liquids touch the sides of the container and include them s-l-o-w-l-y and also carefully, a dribble in ~ a time. Squirting them into the container is not an alternative if you want to end up seeing every nine layers.

Starting v the water, host the guideline of the baster versus the side of the container close to the layer of food soap. Squeeze gently so the water flows down the side of the container and also onto the food soap. Move the baster upward together needed. Great the vegetables oil, the rubbing alcohol, and the desk lamp oil in the very same way. Permit the layers come settle and also separate even more before relocating on come the following step.



Release the objects one at a time into the tower therefore they “slide” as gently as feasible through the liquids and also fall along the next of the container. Relax them at various spots about the container come avoid leading to too much turbulence in the same location in the liquids. This helps placed the objects towards the outside of the container for this reason you can see castle on “their” layer. Begin with the bolt and also then release the popcorn kernel, the video game dice, the cherry tomato, the plastic beads, and the soda party cap. Let the upper layers settle completely between every release. The cherry tomato may stir things up a little so let the all clear up down again. Friend may need to nudge the party cap a tiny with a straw or spoon manage so that fills with liquid and also sinks. The Ping-Pong sphere will float an extremely nicely on optimal of the desk lamp oil. Well done!

How Does it Work

Density is basically just how much “stuff” is packed right into a certain volume. It’s a comparison between an object’s mass and its volume. Psychic the all-important equation: thickness = massive ÷ volume. Based upon this equation, if the load (or mass) of miscellaneous increases however the volume remains the same, then density goes up. Likewise, if the massive decreases yet the volume remains the same, then thickness goes down. Lighter liquids (like water or vegetables oil) space less thick than more heavier liquids (like honey or corn syrup) so they float on peak of the more heavier liquids. The exact same amount the two various liquids you supplied in the container will certainly have various densities because they have various masses. The liquids the weigh much more (a greater density) will sink below the liquids that weigh less (a reduced density).

To test this, you could want to collection up a sensitive kitchen scale and also weigh every volume that the liquids that you added to the column. Make sure that girlfriend weigh identical volumes of each liquid. Friend should find that the weights the the liquids exchange mail to each various layer that liquid. For example, the honey will weigh more than the food soap. By weighing the exact same volume (e.g. ¼ cup, 60 ml) of these liquids, you will find that density and weight are carefully related.

By convention, plain water has actually a density of 1.0 and that’s measure up in g/cm3 or g/ml. So, a cubic centimeter that water has actually a massive of 1 gram and also fills 1 milliliter the volume. If a substance has actually a density less than 1.0 g/cm3, that floats top top water and one through a density an ext than 1.0 g/cm3, it sink in water. The numbers below are based upon data native manufacturers because that each item. Because each manufacturer has actually its very own “secret” formula, densities may vary slightly from brand come brand because that the same product however these space pretty close.

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MaterialDensity (g/cm3)
Pancake Syrup1.37
Light Corn Syrup1.33
Dish Soap1.06
Ice Cube0.92
Vegetable Oil0.92
Baby Oil0.83

The same dominance for “sink or float” goes for the small objects the you dropped into your thickness column. The metal bolt is more dense than every one of the liquids in the column and also therefore sinks straight to the bottom. Less thick objects will float on separation, personal, instance layers up the column. For instance, the plastic beads are more dense than the vegetables oil and also everything above it yet less thick than the water and also everything listed below it. This makes the beads work out on peak of the water. The Ping-Pong sphere is the least dense of that all and also floats top top top.

Take the Further

This is the perfect possibility to get in some scientific exploration. Use what girlfriend learned indigenous dropping the beads, soda bottle cap, tomato, and game die right into the container to figure out i m sorry items are an ext or less dense than water. Which items have an ext density than vegetable oil? What items space less dense than honey? You can make a hypothesis around the thickness of an object and climate test the in the column. Exactly how do the data support or not assistance the results?

When all the liquids and little objects have actually been included to your thickness tower, girlfriend will have actually what shows up to it is in a “magic” column but it’s all based on science. Every one of the liquids will certainly be clearly distinguishable from each other and each of the objects will certainly have worked out at various levels in ~ the column. Build a table to present the order the the liquids and also objects space in in ~ the start. Be sure to document the date, too. If you leave it undisturbed end time, some interesting changes may happen in the column. Keep track of what girlfriend see v notes and also photos through dates. Scientific research fair anyone?