Science Fun with Kids: Oil & Water Fireworks

[31 Jul 2012 | By | 19 Comment(s) | 11,796 views ]

Fireworks in Oil science project - dabbled.org

So my 7 yr old came home the other day from camp and was like “Mom, we’ve got to go do this experiment, it’s so cool!”

And it WAS pretty darn cool, so I thought I’d share it with you guys!

These are his instructions, and he did the experiment and showed it to me:

You’ll need 3 jars.  Fill the first one 1/2 full with water (room temperature), second one 1/2 full with oil, and the third 1/4 full with water and 1/4 full with oil.

Then take food coloring, and put a few drops in the first jar, and stir.  See how the water mixes with the food coloring and now the water is all blue?

Then put a few drops in the second jar.  Stir it up as much as you can, and the oil and water still don’t mix!

Now for the REALLY cool one.  Put a few drops in your half and half jar–which will now have separated back out so that the oil sits on top of the water.  You’ll see that the food coloring is caught in the oil, and sits at the bottom of the oil, on top of the water.  Now watch and wait.   It may take a few minutes, but as you watch each droplet of the foodcoloring will “explode” like fireworks into the water!

Pretty cool, huh? Looks like my nail polish from this weekend!

oil and water fireworks science project explosion dabbled.org

oil and water fireworks science project explosion

dabbled.org: Oil and water food coloring experiment - 3 jars

Afterwards, we shook it all up and watched what happened. (We took bets on whether the oil would be blue when it separated back out.)
Now I just need ideas on what to do with a jars of oil and blue water… any ideas?? :)

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19 Comment(s) »

  • Vone [] :

    Very cool, I’ve been wanting to try something like this but haven’t seen the 1/2 oil and 1/2 water version.

  • Dot [] (author) :

    Glad you like it, Vone!

  • Rebecca Dunger Peak [] :

    I’ve done a great activity that your supplies above would be great for: make a homemade wave machine. I drank a bottle of Fuji water (nice square bottle). After washing I filled it half with mineral oil and half with colored water (I used a combination of green and blue since I wanted mine to look like the ocean). I made sure the bottle was filled with the top. Then I put a few layers of pipe tape around the mouth of the bottle to create a water-tight seal before screwing the lid back onto the bottle. Turn the bottle on its side and gently tilt side to side to create “waves.” I made 2: one to keep in my office for stress relief and the other I gave away to someone who played with it every time she came to my office. Even when the youth or children stop by and shake it up the water and oil eventually separate again and you can get back to making waves. Enjoy!

  • Dot [] (author) :

    Great idea, Rebecca :)

  • Anonymous [] :

    Nice experiment. This is a new information about which I have never listened before. The color is looking beautiful in the jar. I will definitely try this at home.

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