Can Iron Float on Water? Like Paper Clip


 Overview 

Why you may wonder some small animals can float on the surface of the water like water striders? Do you know the science behind this is the same as the free-falling drop of water appearing a sphere? This experiment, Floating Paperclip will tell you more about this secret. The required material can be found in everyone's house. We also use a magnet to control the paper clip swimming.

Ages: 3+               Est. Time: < 10 mins

 Safety 

  1. Adult supervision.
  2. Be careful, kids may swallow the paperclip.

 Materials List 

  • Paperclip
  • Water
  • Tray (or bowl)
  • Washing soap(optional)
  • Magnet (optional)
  • Tissue(optional)

 Instruction 

Step 1/2 – Paper clip floating: Pour water into the tray, carefully place the paper clip flat on the surface of the water. The paper clip will float on the water. You may find quite difficult to place it floating. You can try to place a paper clip on a tissue and put the tissue onto the water. After the tissue is soaked with water, it will dive and leave the paperclip on the surface of the water. You can also add some salt into the water to give the water more forces to support the paper clip.


Floating paper clip science experiment

Floating paper clip science experiment


Step 2/2 – Here are three ways to play with this.

1. Add some washing soap to the water, the floating paper clip will sink to the bottom.
Floating paper clip science experiment


2. Put paperclip into any pattern you like on the on a tissue, then carefully put the paper flat on the water surface, after the paper sinks into the water, the paper clip floats on the water surface in a unique pattern.
Floating paper clip science experiment


3. Use a magnet to attract the floating paper clip on the top of the water and you can find it you can control it to swim.
Floating paper clip science experiment

 Troubleshooting 

Why does the paper clip sink to the bottom instead of floating on the water?

— You need to keep the water calm and peaceful and place it flat on the water. In addition, some salt can be added to increase the surface tension of the water to make the paper clip float more easily on the water surface.

What if there is no paper clip?

—Copper wire and needle can be replacements. Any small, thin and flat irons are ok.

 Scientific Description 

The paperclip density is higher than the water density, so if it is not put flat, it will sink to the bottom. When the paper clip is placed flat on the water surface, the surface tension of the water counteracts the gravity of the paper clip, so the paper clip can float on the water surface. In micro, molecules are attracted by one another nearby in all directions, except for those at the boundary. The unequal attraction of neighboring molecules at the surface forms a ‘skin’ which can support the paper clip. Adding salt to the surface of the water can increase the surface tension of the water so that the paper clip can float more easily on the water surface. Adding the washing soap can significantly reduce the surface tension of the water and make the floating paper clip sink to the bottom.

 Extensions 

Try if you can place a coin on the surface of the water?

 Disposal 

Pour the liquid into the sink and do not forget washing what you have used.

Can Iron Float on Water? Like Paper Clip Can Iron Float on Water? Like Paper Clip Reviewed by Ronyes Tech on May 11, 2020 Rating: 5

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