Water Experiments
Dropping Clippies

In these fascinating water experiments you will learn how many paperclips you can add to a glass full of water. Water molecules are attracted to each other because they have both a positive and negative charge. The two charges work to keep water together forming a film over the surface of water. You will be using this property when you do this amazing and fun science experiment.

Easy water experiment studying surface tension, Photo by Myrna Martin
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Materials

  • Glass
  • Water
  • Box of paperclips

Directions

  1. Fill the glass with water until it is level full.
  2. Now make a guess how many paperclips you will be able to drop in the glass without the water overflowing. Write your prediction down on a piece paper.
  3. You can count the paperclips as you carefully drop each one into the water or have a friend count for you.
  4. After you have filled the glass to overflowing check your number with the number you predicted you could add.
  5. Now have a friend or family member repeat the experiment to see who can add the most paperclips to the glass. Be sure and use dry paperclips with each experiment.

Try these other water experiments

  1. Using the same amount of water try filling a tall skinny glass container with water and adding paper clips. Compare the number of paperclips it takes to overflow this container with the original glass.
  2. Try dropping pennies into the glass to see how many pennies can be held by the water glass. Try adding water drops to the glass with an eye dropper.

Science behind the experiments

Water molecules have a positive and negative charge like little magnets. the negative part of the water molecule is attracted to another water molecules opposite pole where they stick together.

The attraction of water molecules to other water molecules is called cohesion. The force of the cohesion allows water to form a small dome over the top of a glass as you add the paperclips without overflowing.

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