How to Make Water Walk!

Filed in Mad Scientist Activites by on 02/19/2017 0 Comments

Walking Water Bramble Box

Protect surfaces and clothing as appropriate before undertaking science experiments. Safety glasses are also included to protect eyes from splashes, as needed.  Adult supervision is required at all times whilst undertaking experiments.

You will need 5-6 plastic cups (or glass mason jars work well too) with three filled with water, red, yellow and blue color tablets (or food coloring) and paper towels.

How to Make It

Watch the colored water magically walk up the paper towel and fill up an empty cup! How do we do that??? Let’s find out………

Add a different color tablet (or food coloring) to each of the three of the cups of water to create yellow, red and blue water. Loosely fold a half sheet of paper towel. Put one edge in the yellow water cup and one edge in an   empty cup. Fold another piece of paper towel and place one end in the same empty cup and one edge in the blue water. Continue with another empty cup and the red cup.

Now write down your hypothesis in your notebook. What’s going to happen in the empty cups?

This experiment can take a while to complete. You should see the colored water start rise up the paper towels. We observed water dripping into the empty cup after 7 minutes. If you want it to move much faster fill up the empty cups half way with water.

Can you see anything starting to happen?

What happens if you add a 6th cup between the yellow and red cups and link them with paper towel?

The Science Behind It

Primary Colors

We added yellow, blue and red colored tablets to our cups of water. These are primary colors. Primary colors can be mixed   together to make other colors. What colors did you make?

How Does It Work?

The water moves up and along the paper towel by a process called capillary action. The water uses this process to move along the tiny gaps in the paper towels.

The process is the same way that water moves up a plant’s roots all the way up to it’s leaves.

It Isn’t Working?

The speed at which this experiment works depends on the type of paper towels that you use. We used Bounty brand towels and it took around 7 mins for the water to start dripping into the empty cup.

We also tried out folded toilet paper and coffee filters. We discovered that the water moved along the toilet paper much slower than the paper towels and the coffee filter was somewhere in the middle.

If the water is not moving up your paper towels you may need to try with a different brand.





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