July 17th, 2024

Your very own fireworks

By Mo Cranker on December 31, 2016.

Well 2017 is just around the corner! I remember when I was a child I could hardly imagine entering the year 2000 and now look. I remember New Year’s Eve 1999; there was all kind of talk that the world was going to end, threats to people’s safety, it seemed like people were going crazy. Well, we are entering 2017 and the world didn’t end, so let’s celebrate! I always find it disappointing when the celebration is over and there are no more fireworks, so I thought that we could make our own at home any time of the year. Let’s get started!
*Remember to ask an adult before doing this experiment.

– water
– oil
– several different colours of food colouring
– tall clear glass
– spoon
– measuring spoon

1. Using room temperature water, fill the tall clear glass 3/4 full.
2. Place three tablespoons of oil in the glass on top of the water.
3. Observe. What is happening?
4. Carefully add several drops of food colouring. (Note: I used one drop of three different colours).
5. Using the spoon, slowly swirl the oil and food colouring. You are trying to make the food colouring break into very small droplets, not mix it up completely. Be very gentle.
6. Be patient and watch what happens now.

What is going on?
First of all, you should have observed that oil and water do not mix. The oil should have sat in a nice layer on top of the water in the glass because oil is less dense than water. When you added the food colouring it sat in the oil for a short time and once it was broken into smaller pieces it slowly slid through the oil and into the water below exploding into a variety of colours, just like fireworks. The food colouring exploded into the water and not the oil because it does not dissolve in the oil, just the water.
Now you can enjoy your very own fireworks safely any time of the year.
Patty Rooks is Senior Scientific Consultant at PRAXIS, “Connecting Science To The Community.” Contact Praxis at praxis@praxismh.ca, http://www.praxismh.ca, Tweet or follow us @PraxisMedHat, or friend us on Facebook.

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