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Bite-Size Physics

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You Need:

Bowl of water

4 Toothpicks

A Bit of Soap (dish soap or hand soap)

 

This is a variation on the old scared pepper trick. It’s quite neat.

1. Take the bowl and fill it with water.

2. Put the four toothpicks in the water in the shape of a square. If possible

have the toothpicks touch to form the corners of the square.

3. Now put a drop of soap on your finger and touch the water in the middle of

the square of toothpicks.

4. The toothpicks should spread out across the bowl.

5. If you’d like to do this again, you will need to empty the bowl and put in

new water.

 

This happens due to surface tension. When you touch the surface of the

water with the soap, you break the surface tension of the water and the

“skin” of the water spreads out like a popped balloon. As it spreads, it takes

the toothpicks with it.

Back to the Lab

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