Pepper Warm Water and Dish Soap Experiment

If you have kids in your home, you know that they are inquisitive little crumb snatchers that want to try all sorts of experiments. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of science kits that we’ve gone through in this household with the two of them growing up. Tre is on this kick of watching experiments on YouTube and wanting to recreate them at home. Some of them are flat-out dangerous and I have to tell him no. Repeatedly. Firmly.

There are others, however, that peak even my curiosity so I allow him to try them out and, if they work, we film the results. This is one of my favorites so far that I thought you might enjoy as well!

Now I’m going to spoil the fun and tell you why this works as it does. Tre, naturally, rolled his eyes at me when I attempted to explain this to him. He didn’t care about the why, he just thought it was neat.

Water molecules are sticky. The surface molecules (on which the pepper is floating) give a tension that allows the pepper to float. When you introduce just a plain ordinary finger, nothing happens. 

When you introduce a finger that has dish soap on it; however, the water molecules beside your finger suddenly stick to the soap molecules instead of each other. The other water molecules on the surface are still pulling and the water at the edges of the plate are still pulling, but the water in the center is NOT pulling back. As a result, the surface molecules and the pepper sitting on top of these surface molecules are pulled quickly to the sides of the dish – because of the tension.

Saturday morning science experiment and lesson completed. Check.

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