Investigatory Report

Topics: Viscosity, Starch, Liquid Pages: 4 (1249 words) Published: February 5, 2014

Anyone who has ever watched a classic western movie knows about the dangers of quicksand. You know… that gooey stuff that grabs a hold of its victim and swallows them alive? So, what is quicksand and how does it really work? In this experiment, you'll use ordinary corn starch to model the behaviour of real quicksand. Materials

One box of corn starch (16 Oz)
Large mixing bowl
Cookie sheet, square cake pan, or something similar
Pitcher of water
Gallon size zipper-lock bag
Newspaper or a plastic drip cloth to cover the floor
Food colouring

Pour approximately 1/4 of the box (about 4 Oz) of corn starch into the mixing bowl and slowly add about 1/2 cup of water. Stir. Sometimes it is easier (and more fun!) to mix the corn starch and water with your bare hands. Continue adding corn starch and water in small amounts until you get a mixture that has the consistency of honey. It may take a little work to get the consistency just right, but you will eventually end up mixing one box of corn starch with roughly 1 to 2 cups of water. As a general rule of thumb, you're looking for a mixture of roughly 10 parts corn starch to 1 part water. Notice that the mixture gets thicker or more viscous as you add more corn starch. Sink your hand into the bowl of “quicksand” and notice its unusual consistency. Compare what it feels like to move your hand around slowly and then very quickly. You can’t move your hand around very fast! In fact, the faster you thrash around, the more like a solid the gooey stuff becomes. Sink your entire hand into the goo and try to grab the fluid and pull it up. That’s the sensation of sinking in quicksand! Drop a plastic toy animal into the corn starch mixture and then try to get it out. It’s pretty tough even for an experienced quicksand mixologist. Slap Test

Pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet or cake pan. Notice its unusual consistency when you are...
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