Saturday, April 21, 2007

Great recipe for creating non-Newtonian fluid

A friend was telling me about the University of Virginia's Physics Day event she and her family had attended, and mentioned a cool experiment that demonstrated (you've really got to watch this video!) how a non-Newtonian fluid behaves. We have been using a really great book called "The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions," by John Thomas and Danita Pagel, for about 7 years now. There's a wonderfully easy recipe on page 19, called "Magic Muck." It's a great way to demonstrate the same thing at home. Here it is:

  1. Mix 3/4 cup cornstarch with 5-7 drops food coloring [you can skip the color]
  2. Slowly add cornstarch to 1/3 cup water and food coloring mixture. Do not stir!
  3. Let the mixture stand for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pick up a handful of Magic Muck and squeeze it until it forms a hard ball. Open your hand and the Magic Muck will turn from a solid ball back into a liquid.

That's it! It's fun to play with, and makes a great mess if you fling it around. Enjoy!

UPDATE: 10/29/2007--I've received so many hits to my blog for folks searching for this recipe! Please, if you try it, come back and leave a comment--did it work? Did you change anything? What other fun stuff did you try? Thanks!

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Anonymous said...

just read that ketchup (catsup) is also non-Newtonian fluid-it just behaves the opposite of Magic Muck, oobleck, et al. Its viscosity decreases with pressure/agitation. Wondering if an experiment with identical viscosity vs manipulated pressure would be valuable learning. Could it be done w/o destroying the kitchen/classroom?

Silvia said...

What an intriguing thought! Please take pictures if you try this. :)

Jeff said...

i am not sure how I would do an experiment with ketschup, maybe involving zip lock bags.

I just made the cornstarch non-newtonian fluid, and it worked well. Does anyone know of any household/kitchen items that can break down the cornstarch polymer?

I would like to show the kids what happens to the fluid when the long-chain polymers breakdown, and how it affects the viscosity of the fluid.


KnightDiver said...

Thanks for posting the recipe. My daughter and I followed your recipe and had a lot of fun with it.

We even made a video.

Anonymous said...

If you get a speaker which is in the shape of a cone with glad wrap then pour in some oobleck. if you turn the speaker on loud the fluid will turn solid and appear to dance.
If you don't beleive me then search 'dancing non-newtonian fluid' on youtube so that you know yuor not wasting your time