Weird Science: Waves in a bottle - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Weird Science: Waves in a bottle

(HawaiiNewsNow) Dr. V shows us how to make waves in a bottle.

Things you need:

  • 1 clean 16 or 20oz. water/soda bottle
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Mineral or vegetable oil
  • Small plastic objects or toys (optional)

The experiment

Fill the bottle two thirds of the way full with water. Add some blue (or any other color) food coloring to the water and swirl the bottle around to mix. Fill the remainder of the bottle with mineral (clear) or vegetable (yellow) oil and cap the bottle tightly. If possible, add enough oil so that there is no air left in the bottle. Lay the bottle on its side and you'll see the separation of the two liquids in the bottle. Slowly tilt the bottle from side to side and try creating a wave in your bottle.

How does it work?

The two liquids stay separated because they are immiscible, or unmixable. They can not be mixed together into one solution. That is why you can see the two separate liquids and a definite line or surface where the two liquids meet. This helps you to see the shape of your waves. If you place a small toy, let's say a tiny boat, into your bottle, it will sit on the surface of the water. If you notice when you make waves in the bottle, your boat will move up and down as the wave passes, but doesn't move forward with the wave. This is because wave energy actually passes through the water, moving the water particles in a circular motion. A wave does not actually take the water with it. What else do you see in your wave bottle?

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