Surface Tension Experiment

We can see through mesh. We can hear through it, breathe through it, and even pour water through it... So there is no way it will stop water from flowing, right? Let's find out!

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    It's always so fun when science has such a "wow!" factor that it seems like magic. This demonstration sure had us saying "Wow!"

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Even though we're familiar with air pressure and water, it's always fun to start something like this by filling up a glass, putting a piece of index card over the top, flipping it upside down and letting go of the paper. Tada! Always a big hit!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    But now we were moving on to the fancier stuff. First we had to play with the mesh. "Everything is green!"

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    We put it over the jar, and fastened it on tight by wrapping a rubber band around it. Time to fill it up! Water flows in just fine! The mesh doesn't stop it at all. Hmmm...

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Next we put a piece of index card on the top of the 3/4 full jar.... and flipped it over! (Three quarters full worked best for us, but you might find that a fuller glass or jar works better for your shape.)

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    Now it's time to sloooowly slide that index card off the bottom of the jar (unless you get lucky like we did a few times, and the index card just falls off!).... And would you look at that!?!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Photo reference of how to complete step 7

    Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    Water molecules are attracted to the other water molecules --a force called cohesion--and so they form a membrane between the mesh fibers. That's some strong surface tension! But it sure seems like magic!

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