Making Layered Liquids | Fizzics Education

Making Layered Liquids

Making Layered Liquids

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You Will Need:

50mL Vegetable oil

50mL Glycerol or Glucose syrup

50mL Water, coloured with food colouring.

Shaving cream

Clear Plastic container

Beads, marbles and foam

Making Layered Liquids Science experiment - setup_materials
1 Making Layered Liquids Science experiment - adding glycerol

Pour the glycerol (or corn syrup) into the bottom of the plastic container. Try not to touch the sides.

2 Making Layered Liquids Science experiment - adding vegetable oil

Carefully pour the oil down the side of the container. There should be two distinct layers.

3 Making Layered Liquids Science experiment - adding water

Now carefully pour the water down the side of the container. Where did this layer end up floating?

4 Making Layered Liquids Science experiment - adding marbles

Carefully place the beads (etc.) onto the surface of your layered liquid. Where do they float? Why?

5 Making Layered Liquids Science experiment - adding shaving cream

Add some shaving cream on the top!

Why Does This Happen:

Each liquid has a different density, meaning that although the volume is the same, the mass of each liquid is different.

Density = Mass / Volume.

The higher the density, the more compact the substance is, e.g. Iron is denser than water.

  • The corn syrup is much denser than water, so the water floats above it.
  • The water is more than the oil but less dense than the corn syrup, so it floats in between the oil and corn syrup.
  • Finally, the shaving is the least dense of all the materials… so it sits above the three liquids.

Actual densities

Corn Syrup = 1.37g/ml
Water = 1.00g/ml
Oil = 0.91g/ml
Shaving cream = approximately 0.80g/ml

Questions to ask students:

  • Is the vegetable oil more or less dense than the water?
  • Why do some objects sink and others float?

Weird Fact: The planet Saturn is less dense than water. A big enough ocean could make it float!
Solid water (ice) floats because it is less dense than water as a liquid. Very unusual for a chemical.

Check out the different types of icebergs found in the world:
Canadian Geographic Magazine

Learn more!

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