Explore the properties of superabsorbent polymers using water marbles. Amaze your students by “floating” a steel sphere on “water.” Since the water marbles have essentially the same refractive index as water, the steel sphere will appear to float on the surface of the water. Students will learn about the refractive index of water and the properties of polyacrylamide spheres. Students can also calculate how much the spheres have “grown” and how the different refractive indexes of air and water illuminate or conceal the presence of spheres. A fun discrepant event demonstration! Enough materials are included to perform this demonstration seven times.
Concepts: Superabsorbent polymers, index of refraction, discrepant event.
Time Required: 15 minutes
Materials Provided: Water marbles, laser, steel sphere, and ruler.
Flinn Catalog/Reference Manual Page 389
Flinn Middle School Catalog/Reference Manual Page 502
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