I don’t know where I went right.
For some reason, our youngest dude, Hyper Lad, is an experimental fiend. And that’s a good thing.
He loves to do scientific experiments on his own. Well, I say on his own, but I mean he comes up with the idea and we work together to find the ingredients and I’m there as the nominally adult supervision most scientific experiments require.
Together, we’ve learned to solder and then put together a digital watch that actually works. We’ve also created “ninja sticks” that required wood staining, drilling, leather work and wood burning tools.
Working on his own, Hyper Lad has destroyed an abandoned microwave and taken apart a non-functioning iPod. Yes, those last two are destructive, but they were controlled destruction to see what was inside, rather than merely destroying to destroy because he could.
This one, though, surprised me.
He came downstairs, asked if we had milk, food coloring and some dishwashing soap. And, yes, we did. Then he went about this that follows.
Isn’t that cool? It took me a while, but I finally went and figured out why it does what it does.
To do that, I went to Steve Spangler Science, which has a whole bunch of cool experiments for kids to perform. And me, so I guess adults are included as well, which is a good thing.
Anyway, here’s what it says there:
The secret of the bursting colors is the chemistry of that tiny drop of soap. Dish soap, because of its bipolar characteristics (nonpolar on one end and polar on the other), weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution. The soap’s polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and itshydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is when the fun begins.
The molecules of fat bend, roll, twist, and contort in all directions as the soap molecules race around to join up with the fat molecules. During all of this fat molecule gymnastics, the food coloring molecules are bumped and shoved everywhere, providing an easy way to observe all the invisible activity. As the soap becomes evenly mixed with the milk, the action slows down and eventually stops.
And so my verbal fumbling during the video was partially correct. It did have something to do with the chemical properties of the soap. I just couldn’t articulate why. Of course, that’s like saying, “It’s going to hurt.” when a rock’s going to hit your head, but not understanding that it would miss if you stepped out of the way.
Now that we’ve discovered this experiment website, I have a feeling Hyper Lad and I will be having a lot more science fun in the future.Share on Facebook