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How To Make Oobleck, Or Non-Newtonian Fluid, In 3 Simple Steps And Master The Magic Of Physics

January 12, 2018 10:06

According to Sir Isaac Newton, in the regular temperature, range water acts as a normal liquid, which has a constant viscosity… What?! If physics was not your favorite subject in school and you have no idea what the heck all these terms mean, we are moving on to the fun part and talk about the Non-Newtonian fluid!

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What is Non-Newtonian (Oobleck) fluid and why is it fun?

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"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan

Just a tiny bit of basics

Matter can be found in three major states: solid, liquid, and gas. But guess what? Non-Newtonian fluids can be in several states at the same time! Fun and crazy already! Such fluids act weirdly, just like Oobleck in Dr. Seuss’ book. They can hardly be placed and surely refuse to stay in one of the aforementioned categories. They constantly surprise us and are trying hard to get out of the box, figuratively (and sometimes literally) speaking.

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So, in our case, a fluid refuses to be in just one liquid state with the constant viscosity (remember this word? It means how fast the liquid flows) and at times turns into the solid matter or acts like one. Oobleck is fun to play with, but get ready: It’s extremely messy.

The good news

"Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler." - Albert Einstein 

You CAN and, hopefully, will make your own Oobleck right at home. It’s easy and safe (for humans, but not for cloth or carpets!).

All you need for the Non-Newtonian Oobleck:

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Ingredients & materials:

Mixing it all up

Step 1: Put the cornstarch.

Step 2: Add some water.

The amount of the starch has to double that of the water. Keep mixing it up until you get smooth and thick stuff (Oobleck).

A Tip: Hit the thing with your palm to check and see if you gained the right thickness. If your palm does not go in or drowns easily - great, you got it.

Step 3: Add food coloring. You, the Master of Oobleck, can turn it into your favorite color now! Use a rubber glow or a silicone kitchen crock to mix it up well and to avoid turning your hands into your favorite color.

How to play with the Non-Newtonian fluid

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If you grab it gently and pour down, the start liquid will flow as a usual Newtonian one. However, try to press it hard in your palm. Open up and see: It has become a solid object… well, just for a moment, but still, you know.

Hit your hand on the Oobleck and see that it will resist you like some solid matter, but if you pet it gently, like your kitty, the hand will drown easily in it. Kids just love it! It’s messy, it’s weird, but FUN!

A little science lesson

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Now, why do the normal liquid becomes Ooblecky? Well, it’s all about the cornstarch. Its atom chains are long, and when you press them together, just like long noodles, they get entangled. And they need a short while to untangle and return to the normal liquid state. So, the Non-Newtonian fluid is fun, easy to make, and it teaches kids (and possibly their parents or grandparents too) a little science lesson. Enjoy making it and having great family time, especially when kids stay indoors so much and need to be dragged away from PCs or tablets!

READ ALSO: DIY Arm Knitting: How To Knit A Thick And Cozy Blanket


This material is provided for informational purposes only. Some of the products and items discussed in this article may cause an allergic reaction and damage your health. Before use, consult a certified technician/specialist. The editorial board is not responsible for any harm or other consequences that may be caused by the use of the methods, products or items described in this article.

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