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Science Project: Making Quicksand

Have you ever seen a movie where the hero is dashing through the jungle when they step in a bog of quicksand which sucks them down to their untimely death, or what seems their untimely death until they're saved at the last minute? Well, quicksand doesn't actually work like that. Sorry to bust your movie going experience, but quicksand is rarely deeper than a few feet and if you hold yourself still you will float to its surface and be free. Try this experiment to see exactly how quicksand works!

Quicksand is called a non-Newtonian fluid, which means that is can be both a solid or a liquid. It depends on the amount of pressure applied to the substance. The molecules that make up quicksand are normally loosely arranged, which makes it behave like a liquid. But when pressure is applied the molecules become ordered and the substance behaves like a solid.

Quicksand is made up of sand (a granular material), clay and water. The sand is so saturated with water that the friction between sand particles if reduced. Which means that it can no longer support weight, like, for example, a person walking over it, which is why you get "sucked" into it. But if you don't move, meaning don't apply pressure to the substance, the quicksand will behave like a liquid and you will float up to the top. The best way to understand quicksand is to make some yourself!

Materials:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cornstarch (cornstarch mimics the granular consistency of sand)
  • bowl
  • spoon
  • a place that can get messy

Procedure:

  1. Slowly add the cornstarch to the water in the bowl and stir.
  2. Notice how the slower the motion the more fluid the substance.
  3. Quickly stir the cornstarch and water mixture.
  4. Notice how the faster motion creates a more solid substance. It might feel like you're "breaking" the cornstarch and water mixture.
  5. Play with your quicksand!

Yep, it's as easy as that. Maybe not as death defying as in the movies, but definitely pretty interesting!

Have Your Say

Have you ever been scared of quicksand? Now that you know some more about it, does it still freak you out? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

 

25 Comments

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Random In The Forums

Pink_Cool_Girl
Yes. They actually are. 
reply about 2 hours
rainbowpoptart
"Pink_Cool_Girl" wrote:Anyways, I know girls are into cleaning and dolls, and you have a very good point there. But your also missing it.  I feel like I addressed everything.. Which part of your point am I missing?   "Pink_Cool_Girl" wrote:ANOTHER thing is the computer for boys and girls. One computer is $12.99. 50 functions. Blue and white. AKA for boys.    Girls: -White and pink -9 dollars -25 DAMN FUNCTIONS I suppose that does look a bit problematic. Are they the same brand?
reply about 3 hours
Pink_Cool_Girl
Oh Rainbowpoptart. Where were you. Anyways, I know girls are into cleaning and dolls, and you have a very good point there. But your also missing it. ANOTHER thing is the computer for boys and girls. One computer is $12.99. 50 functions. Blue and white. AKA for boys. Girls:-White and pink-9 dollars-25 DAMN FUNCTIONSProve anything to you yet? 
reply about 3 hours
Pink_Cool_Girl
"Powerslave" wrote:Generally boys are more into things that are more competitive, violent etc. and girls are generally into beauty, dolls and things of that nature. These toys reflect that idea.Yes, but new feminists are being born each day. See, I hate pink, beauty, and I cringe at the name "Shopping". I know others don't, but most do. Speaking of which, I was on ROBLOX today when someone said "Girls are noobs".  I was extremely offended by this. I know this got off topic, but still. Girls shouldn't be influenced by toys and gender roles. 
reply about 3 hours
rainbowpoptart
Companies create products targeted towards a specific audience.     Toys specifically targeted towards girls are pink and frilly or about professions mostly girls have aren't that way because it's sexist, they're that way because girls generally like the colour pink, pretending to cook (because cooking is really fun), and enjoy taking care of their stuffed animals or baby dolls as if they were actual living things. (These things also teach them skill sets that will be helpful to them in the future, such as how to raise a child if you have any and how to cook so you don't starve to death.)      Toys specifically targeted towards boys are blue or green and/or related to guns and cars and gross bugs/animals because that's what guys are generally into. (And I haven't heard of any science kits targeted specifically towards boys..? Every science kit advert I've seen has had both males and females in it, and I've seen a rather nice amount of them.) That's just the way we are. Nothing will change that. I don't think toys [and other things] should be specifically gendered. Anyone can do and play with anything. Just because it's targeted towards girls or because girls generally have this job more than boys do, doesn't mean a boy can't play with that toy or have that job and vice versa. A product being for this one gender shouldn't stop people of the other gender from buying it. This probably wasn't as coherent as I'd like for it to be, but today's science lesson completely fried my brain, and I don't think I can properly do anything except breathe for the next few hours.
reply about 3 hours