Monday, January 16, 2012

Quicksand and Aluminum Boats Experiment

When I grew up, quicksand was a real concern.  When you only had a handful of television stations to choose, you ran across a lot of older shows and movies.  If any of these programs were in a jungle of any kind…quicksand always played a role.   The seemingly innocent pile of deadly sand was always featured slowly (and I mean slowly) sucking in the unsuspecting adventurer.  Being very young and viewing this scarred me.  I even avoided sandboxes for a few years.  I would look at the other kids playing in the sandbox and think they were either stupid or had a death wish.  It seems to me that kids today aren’t aware of the menacing threat of quicksand.  This is another reason I’m glad I grew up in the seventies, quicksand knowledge.

Aluminum Boats

What You Need:
Small bucket or large bowl
20 pennies
Aluminum foil

What To Do:
Fill the bucket with water.  Using the ruler make measurements, cut 15 cm (6 inch) squares from the aluminum foil.  Wrap one of the squares around 10 pennies and squeeze the foil into a tight ball.  Fold the four edges of the second square and make a small boat.  Place 10 pennies in the boat.  Make sure you seal each corner tightly so water cannot leak into the sides from below the boat.  Set the boat on the surface of the water.  Place the ball on the surface of the water.

What’s Going On:
When you dropped the ball of aluminum foil in the water, it had a completely different result than the boat.  Although both pieces of aluminum foil have the same weight, the ball takes up smaller space than the boat.  The amount of water pushed aside by an object equals the force of water pushing upward on the object.  The larger boat pushes more water out of the way than the ball and creates enough upward force to cause it to float.

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