Chemical Viscosity

Today’s lesson was all about viscosity. Viscosity is fluid friction, which we can describe as the interactions between molecules of a fluid that affect the rate at which that fluid is able to flow. Viscosity is related to the charges between molecules and how strongly they are attracted to each other. Viscosity is also affected by temperature. Remember how friction works between solids: If you rub your hands together, you will notice that the friction between your hands causes some of the kinetic energy of the motion to be converted into heat energy, warming up your fingers!

For our activity, we tested the viscosities of five common fluids that you might find in the kitchen or bathroom cupboard. We made hypotheses about which fluids were more viscous and less viscous based on how they flow. We then set up a test of the viscosities of the different liquids by observing marbles flow through them and measuring the velocity of the marbles.

We finished the activity by asking students to present their findings, explaining why their hypothesis was correct or not. This practice will help students to prepare for their science fair presentations, thinking about how their data can help them support their explanations about their experiments!

Testing viscosity of liquids is an easy activity to try at home using a cookie sheet! Our follow up activity for students lets you examine the effect that temperature has on viscosity using household liquids… Happy experimenting!



La lección del día de hoy fue sobre la viscosidad. La viscosidad es una característica de los fluidos causada por la fricción que se produce entre las moléculas. Coloquialmente, la viscosidad puede ser descrita como cuan espeso y poco fluido es un líquido. La viscosidad esta relacionada con las cargas eléctricas de las moléculas, cuán fuerte se atraen entre sí y la temperatura del fluido. Recuerda como funciona la fricción entre sólidos: si frotas tus manos notarás que la fricción generada hace que parte de la energía cinética (de movimiento) se convierte en energía calórica, haciendo que tus dedos se calienten.

Durante la actividad, experimentamos con la viscosidad de cinco fluidos que encontramos comúnmente en nuestra cocina o en el baño. En base a cómo fluyen los fluidos analizados, generamos hipótesis sobre cual de ellos era más o menos viscoso. Luego realizamos una prueba de viscosidad, al observar y medir la velocidad de canicas fluyendo a través de los distintos fluidos.

Medir la viscosidad de fluidos es una actividad bastante fácil de realizar en casa usando una bandeja para cocinar galletas. En nuestra actividad de seguimiento, los estudiantes podrán experimentar los efectos de la temperatura sobre la viscosidad utilizando líquidos comúnmente encontrados en casa.


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