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Science progress affects our daily life and "to know" means you are going to chose right, because it allows you to form your own opinion on scientific everyday issues. On the other hand, having an elegant and harmonious vision of the world where we live in leads to a feeling of intellectual satisfaction.
We believe this kind of scientific day to day knowledge should be encouraged from an early age, and that's why this project was born: science, culture, knowledge, crafts for your restless mind.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lava in a drinking glass

Today we are going to do a very simple demonstration. Although simple produces spectacular effects, and that’s what our young restless minds like. Let’s simulate lava in a glass.

We will need:

  • drinking glass, the wide and low work best,
  • 1 / 4 cup vegetable oil,
  • 1 teaspoon of salt,
  • water,
  • food colouring (optional) can be any colour, but the lava is red:).
How to:
  1. Fill the glass with 3 / 4 water;
  2. Add 5 drops of food colouring; 
  3. Throw, slowly and gently, the vegetable oil in the cup. See how the oil floats on top;
  4. Sprinkle the salt over the oil; 
  5. Watch the lava bubbles up and down in your glass;
  6. If you want to continue to observe the effect just add another teaspoon of salt to the oil.

What happened?

Of course inside the glass we don’t have thru lava, the true is less fantastic, it looks like lava but its like those cheep lava lamps used in 1960’s.
First, the oil floats on water because it is lighter than water.
Then the salt is heavier than oil and sinks in water. When this happens the salt takes a bit of oil with it when goes down and the bubble is formed, when salt dissolves ... bang! Oil goes back up to the surface of the water.

If your young restless mind want to take the step further try to answer these questions:
  1. How long will the effect stands if you continue to add salt?
  2. Changing the type of oil produces different results? and olive oil?
  3. In addition to salt, is there any substance that works?
  4. Does the height or shape of the glass affects the results?
Et Voila!


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