Information about Food colour swirl with Fizzics Education | Kids Science Experiments

Make food colours swirl

Make food colours swirl

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You Will Need:

One white Plate

One eye dropper, pipette or straw.


Food Colouring

Rubbing alcohol/methylated Spirits

Adult Help.

Making food colours swirl experiment - ingredients needed
1 Making food colours swirl experiment - pouring the water into the plate

Fill the plate with water.

2 Making food colours swirl experiment - drops of colour in water

Add three drops of food colouring, evenly spaces near the centre of the plate in square.

3 Making food colours swirl experiment - making food colours swilr as we add methlyated spirits

In the middle of your square pour some of the the methylated spirits, or rubbing alcohol.

4 Making food colours swirl experiment in action

And watch.

Why Does This Happen?

All liquids have a property called surface tension.

Surface tension is like an invisible ‘skin’ that holds the liquid together. It turns out that the surface tension of water is much stronger than the surface tension of alcohol. The surface tension within the water is stronger, pulling the food colouring away from the alcohol and causing the swirling effect you see as the alcohol mixes through the water.

Surface tension is caused by cohesive forces between the molecules that make up the substance. The molecules right at the edge of liquid are pulled more strongly into the liquid than into the surrounding air. You see this whenever water is ‘beading’ on a smooth surface, with the water minimising it’s surface area to the surrounding air.

Learn more!


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