Viscosity Experiment – large scale viscosity race

We’ve done a viscosity race before, but this time I wanted to do it on a bigger scale and really get the kids involved, so we created this large scale viscosity experiment.

The rate at which different fluids flow can vary considerably, we call this resistance to flowing viscosity.

What you need

  • A Ramp
  • Stopwatch
  • Some liquids to test, today we used oil, water, corn syrup, passata, treacle and ice cream sauce
  • Containers for the liquids, we used old yoghurt drink bottles

Viscosity

We thought carefully about the best way to time the different liquids. Initially we thought we would let them all run down the ramp at the same time and see which reached the bottom first, but decided it would be too hard to release them all at the same time and difficult to time. So, we drew two lines on the ramp and recorded the time taken for each liquid to pass between the lines.

Viscosity

Viscosity

Method

  • Pour the liquids down the ramp one at a time.
  • Start the timer as the liquid passes over the first line and stop when it passes the second.
  • Repeat for all liquids.

Viscosity

Things to remember

The same volume of liquid should be used for each substance, we used 50ml.

Only start the timer once the liquid has passed the first line.

If the ramp falls over mid experiment, make sure it has the same gradient as before to keep the test fair.

To be more accurate you could repeat for each liquid 3 times and find the mean of the times.

If you want to see us investigating viscosity, this video is quite amusing.

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