MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – In today’s Science Corner experiment, see how surface tension works in two different experiments! In this project, you will put droplets of water on a penny, like in Figure 1. You can demonstrate concepts such as surface tension, buoyancy, and even eddy currents with Japanese yen coins! Because of surface tension, liquid surfaces act like a kind of ‘skin’, able to support small insects and materials on their surface. Who knew that a single coin could be used for so many classroom science activities! The higher the surface tension of the water, the bigger a droplet you can make before it breaks and flows over the edges of the penny. The surface tension was not strong enough. Frugal Fun for Boys has a great surface tension investigation using a coin and different liquids! Some preschoolers may want to understand the magic behind this simple science with coins. Use a toothpick to pull water from the first coin to the second coin. You can use washing up liquid’s power of disrupting the surface tension of water to race lolly sticks. Water and Surface Tension. Things that reduce surface tension are called surfactants. ... We could not get the coins to float. Cohesion is the attraction of like molecules to one another. This holds the surface molecules together and holds the water in place over the coin, stopping water spillage for much longer than you would expect. Surface tension is the result of all the water molecules sticking together. These experiments can be performed easily anywhere with simple materials. More on variables here Can you pull the water all the way to the end of the row of coins without breaking the tension? This means you need to reduce the surface tension of water. Squeeze or pour a small amount of dish soap into a small bowl. They are attracted to one another, and the force of attraction creates surface tension. In this case, the like molecules are the H20 molecules in the water drops. Next try the classic surface tension experiment of floating a sewing needle on top of the water. Water molecules love to stick together! When we fill the glass with water, we notice right away that it can go over the brim of the glass without spilling. Surface tension is a special term we use to describe the cohesion between water molecules. Fill the dish with milk. Magic Milk Surface Tension Experiment . Can a surface tension experiment result in some cool action art? Water molecules like to stick together. Add water around a coin on a plate. Surface tension experiments can be a fun way to learn about the unique properties of water. You’ll notice that the water hangs slightly over the top of the glass but doesn’t spill out just yet. Cohesion is the “stickiness” of like molecules to one another. There are two properties at work in this experiment: cohesion and surface tension. One using a penny and the other using dish soap to propel a cardboard boat! (*Whole milk works best due to its higher fat content. Surface Tension: Even though aluminum has a density of 2.7 gm/cm 3, and the density of water is 1 g/cm 3, aluminum yen coins can float on the surface … To make it easier, place a small piece of the paper towel on the water first, and then place the needle on the paper towel. Now, add the coins one at a time to the glass of water, dropping them in rim-first (not face down). Fill a clear glass with water all the way to the brim. What's Going On? Variables to test. That magic is the surface tension of water. by: Ron Perkins. More Surface Tension Experiments for kids. Surface tension and cohesion is the reason you can get so many drops of water on a penny. Drop food coloring onto the milk in various spots. Set up a row of coins and add different colors of water drops to each, forming surface tension. However, 1% or 2% milk will work in a pinch.) 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