Fun Experiments with Cornstarch and Water

Do you kids have any idea how much fun can you have with the two simple ingredients in your kitchen, cornstarch and water? Read this article and find out all the possible experiments that you can do.
We all know what cornstarch is, and we also know almost everything about water! But have you ever wondered what happens when you add cornstarch to water and mix them up together? For those who love playing with goo and get messy..., this experiment would be fun for you! Before I start telling you what exactly you require to do, let me first give you an idea of how it would feel! Have you ever seen quicksand? The slimy area around the river banks, the beach shores which doesn't allow you to stand on it and sort of pulls you inside. That is exactly how you would feel when you place your fingers in a cornstarch and water mixture!

How to Make Slime Using Cornstarch?

Get ready to enter your fingers into the colorful slime and goo and view all the possible outcomes. This experiment will help you understand how the combination of cornstarch and water ends up showing exactly the same characteristics as quicksand. The reasons will be explained after the experiment!

Materials Required
  • 16 oz of cornstarch
  • Water (about 1-2 cups)
  • A large bowl for mixing
  • A zipper lock bag (large enough to fit a gallon)
  • Plastic drip cloth/Rough newspaper
  • Different food colors of your choice
  • The mixing needs to be done very carefully and with a lot of patience. First you need to add 4 oz of cornstarch into the mixing bowl. Use only cornstarch and not cornstarch substitute!
  • Once you have added the cornstarch, add about ½ cup of water very slowly into the bowl.
  • Now is the fun part! Use your bare hands and fingers to mix the cornstarch and water. Repeat the process by adding both these ingredients in small parts, and mixing them together, till you get the mixture which is as thick as honey! Experts say that this consistency comes when 1 part of water is thoroughly mixed with 10 parts of cornstarch!
  • Don't forget to notice the change in consistency. The more cornstarch you add, the more thick and fun the mixture becomes. Use different food colors and have fun with the colorful slime.
  • Now you must be thinking what the zipper lock bag is for? Well, always remember that you should never drain this mixture in the sink or else your sink will block. Always store it in a zipper bag and throw it in a dustbin when you don't want the mixture anymore!
Fun Experiments to Do with Cornstarch and Water

Now that you are aware of how to make slime with cornstarch and water, let us now have a look at some real fun experiments that you can do with the goo!
  • Take a plastic toy and drop it in the mixture. Now try to take the toy out of the mixture. Let me tell you it won't be an easy job! The toy will sink into the slime like how it happens in the western movies wherein the slime swallows the character alive! So hurry, save the pet animal!!!
  • Another experiment that you can do is to pour the mixture in a pan and slap it as hard as you can with your palm. Now like all other mixtures, you would expect this one also too splash up on you, but no, it won't! In fact, if you have made the slime with the right consistency, then the mixture would stick to the pan and not splatter as you expected! Try moving your fingers fast and slow into the mixture and see how you feel!
  • You can also try pouring the slime from one bowl to another and notice the unusual formation that takes place in the process.
  • The fun part about this mixture, is that it can be both liquid and solid at times. Try to roll the mixture in your palms. You will notice a solid formation of a ball. When you will let the mixture go, it will again come back to the liquid state!
Why is the Mixture so Unusual?

The reason why the mixture of cornstarch and water is so weird is because of viscosity. Viscosity is nothing but the thickness of a liquid which resists it to flow. Liquids like tomato ketchup and honey have high viscosity which prevents them from flowing freely. On the other hand, water has a very low viscosity which enables it to flow as freely as possible. If you are aware of the theory of Sir Isaac Newton, he said that every liquid changes its viscosity with more temperature, which stands true in the case of honey. However, this doesn't happen in the case of cornstarch and water, therefore, they fall under the category of non Newtonian fluids. The viscosity of the cornstarch slime changes only when force is applied to it!

Did you even imagine that you could experience so many different consistencies by mixing these two ingredients?! Get ready with your bare hands and the list of experiments that you wish to conduct, and have all the possible fun as you can. Try different techniques and see how the slime reacts to your acts! Have fun! :)
By Shalu Bhatti
Published: 12/8/2010
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