Magic Sand - Sand That Never Get Wet

The sand in the video above looks like normal and as far as we can tell, it is just some colored regular sand.

Colorful Magic Sand

If you put the sand into a bowl of water. You will find it stays a strange shape inside the water. Then take out some of the sand and you will notice that the sand is totally dry! This kind of sand is often called Magic Sand or Hydrophobic Sand. 

Credits @Steve Spangler

What is Magic sand?

You may hard to believe this, wondering how is it possible? The Magic sand is actually coated with trimethylsilanol which repels water, sealing cracks in the sand and prevents water from sticking to it. Trimethylsilanol is a kind of hydrophobic, or 'water-fearing' substances which do not mix with water. Hydrophilic substances, on the other hand, are 'water-loving'. Just think of the food coloring only color the water, not the oil. The Magic Sand looks coated with a silvery layer in water for hydrogen bonding between water molecules causes the water to form a bubble around. The bubble reflects the light and that is why it appears silvery. 

It is interesting to think that what will happen if you put the Magic Sand in a non-water-based liquid, like cooking oil. Try it yourself and commend below letting everyone know.

Have you noticed another unusual scene that the magic sand is, unlike the regular sand, kind of suspended in the water? Some of them even float on the water! Why? There are three reasons. One, the density of magic sand is lighter for it is coated. Two, the magic sand is surrounded by the bubble which provides some buoyancy. Three,  the surface tension of the water makes the Magic Sand float.

Magic sand for STEM education

Many STEM teachers use this to demonstrate in their lesson, hydrophobic qualities similar to how water and oil do not mix. This is also good for the Science Fair Project.

It is both fun to play and educational. And lots of magicians use magic sand to demonstrate their power to change the nature of water. 

What are examples of oil and water not mixing? 

Food coloring does not mix with oil, which is so amazing for some STEM activity like this Homemade Lava Lamp.

Colorful lava lamp

You can even make a Holloween themed Lava Lamp.

Spooky Halloween lava lamp

The Fire Work in a Jar is a super easy and colorful science experiment for kids. How this works? 

Fire Work in a Jar

A newly waxed car will make rain form beads on its surface. 

waxed car

Where can I get the Magic Sand?

You can make it yourself! 

Magic Sand is regular sand that has been coated with a water-hating or hydrophobic substance. It is not that difficult as long as you have the water-hating spray, such as Scotchgard. You get some sand and spread on the sand giving it a water-repellent layer. The magic sand is ready when it's dry. For better effect, you can spray more layers on the sand.

You can even buy Magic Sand. Check this Magic Sand kit from Amazon.

Do you know that there is another way to make Magic Sand? You might believe that Magic sand was made long before. It is said that In the early 20th century, the Magic sand was created by Indian magicians. It made by mixing heated sand and melted wax. When the sand was exposed to the water, the wax would repel the water staying dry.

Making Magic Sand wet

Pour some Magic Sand in the water. As expected, the Magic Sand stays dry. Add drops of washing soap to the water stir it up to mix them well. The washing soap damages the coating on the sand and lowers its hydrophobic properties. Adding soap removes the “magic” from Magic Sand and what left is just regular sand.

Uses for Magic Sand

 Magic Sand was originally developed as a way to trap oil spilled from oil tankers near the shore. The magic sand is used to clean a majority of that spill and sprayed on fabric to protect it from stains. The sand would bond with the oil. They will come together, and the mass would be heavy enough to sink the oil with it to the bottom of the ocean, sea, etc.  This would prevent the oil from contaminating beaches. 

It can do more than this.  Another use of Magic Sand is to bury junction boxes for electric and telephone wires in the Arctic where the earth is frozen so hard that it is difficult to dig.  In order to protect the utilities from the extremely cold temperatures and make it easy to dig up for repairs, people bury the junction boxes with the magic sand for it repels water, meaning dry so there will be no ice forming around it. 

Quite interested in the Magic Sand, right. 

Get one beblow from Amazon

Magic Sand - Sand That Never Get Wet Magic Sand - Sand That  Never Get Wet Reviewed by Ronyes Tech on August 24, 2020 Rating: 5


  1. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. online illusionist


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