AN IMPORTANT NOTE – PLEASE HAVE AN ADULT ASSIST YOU WITH THIS EXPERIMENT. DO NOT FORGET TO WASH YOUR HANDS ONCE YOU ARE DONE!
- Two bowls
- Stirring utensil
You may have a lot of questions after this experiment. Read below to find some answers!
Why does the pepper float?
The pepper floats because it is hydrophobic. This means that water is not attracted to the pepper and the pepper can’t be dissolved. Water also has the special property called surface tension. Because water molecules are very attracted to each other, it forms a sort of surface. Because the pepper bits are so light and hydrophobic, they did not disturb the surface tension of the water. This allowed them to float!
Why does the pepper move?
When you dipped your soapy finger into the second bowl, the pepper moved. This is because the soap from your finger broke down the surface tension of the water. The water molecules moved away from the soap to try and maintain the surface tension. As they moved, they brought the pepper flakes with them.
REAL WORLD APPLICATION:
In this experiment, the soap on your finger repelled the pepper. In real life, soap can repel small particles of germs from your hands. So when you wash your hands with soap, you make sure your hands are super-clean and germ free! It is important to be mindful of your hygiene (especially during this time) so please be careful and don’t forget to wash your hands with soap!