Surface Tension - Floating Paperclip

Bend a regular paperclip slightly open by pulling the two loops apart.  Then gently lay it on the surface of the water.

It took a few tries, but it worked!



Another method is to lay a small piece of tissue paper on top of the water, and then lay a regular (unbent) paperclip on top.   Gently poke the tissue paper with the back of a pencil to cause it to sink to the bottom.  The paperclip "should" remain on top of the water.

It's not magic....  it's Chemistry!

The molecules on the surface of the water tend to hold on tight together, causing a type of "skin" or an elastic membrane.  Technically, the paperclip is not floating, but actually just laying on top of this "skin".

Many insects use the principles of Surface Tension to walk and glide on water.


A water strider or pond skater 

 

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