The magical swirling milk experiment

The magical swirling milk experiment

The magical swirling milk experiment is simple, but it yields some interesting results. This was scientifically measured by the kids and I yelling, "Whoa, that's cool!"

Materials:

1 dinner plate

dish soap

milk (enough to cover the entire plate)

food coloring (red, blue, yellow, green)

cotton swab

Procedure:

1. Add milk so it covers the entire dinner plate.

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2. Place four drops of food coloring near the center of the plate. Leave some uncolored space in the center.

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3. Gently place the cotton swab in the open space in the center. Not much happening.

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4. Dip the other end of the cotton swab in dish soap. Now place that end of the cotton swab in the open space in the center. Watch it swirl!

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What happened?

The dish soap weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in the milk together, causing the surface tension to lower. The soap molecules also react by seeking to bond with the fat molecules (in the milk).

These molecules "search" all around the milk, which is why simply holding the dish soap soaked cotton swab in the center causes the colors to start swirling on their own. Very cool!

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Filed under: experiment, science

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