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Saturday Science - Oobleck on a Subwoofer!

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POSTED IN: Kids Love Science & Experimentation - and so do I!

Oobleck is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid...

Oobleck is made from cornstarch and water - 1 part of water to 1.5–2 parts of corn starch. "The name "oobleck" is derived from the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  Because of its properties, oobleck is often used in demonstrations that exhibit its unusual behavior. A person may walk on a large tub of oobleck without sinking due to its shear thickening properties, given the individual moves quickly enough to provide enough force with each step to cause the thickening. Also, if oobleck is placed on a large subwoofer driven at a sufficiently high volume, it will thicken and form standing waves in response to low frequency sound waves from the speaker." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Newtonian_fluid

Gooey, Loud, Messy - let's go! 

We dug an old sub-woofer out of the robot graveyard and set up a small surface on top of the speaker cone.   

  1. Wrapped the speaker in a large ziplock bag (things getting wet)
  2. Covered the surface with some aluminum foil (semi-rigid) / elastic pulling it back behind speaker
  3. Hooked up iPhone - app for tone generation - 20hz to 20khz - nice if it can do Sine waves and Square/Sawtooth waves
  4. Tested first on a bowl of water - standing waves! Ripples.   Added red food coloring and red LED 
  5. Mixed up Oobleck (kids were super keen!)
  6. Put Oobleck on speaker - lower frequencies best - 30Hz - like little fingers reaching up.  
  7. Put a ball bearing in middle to keep things in the center - from creeping to the edge

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About the Author

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Hi! I like to play with data, analytics and hack around with robots and gadgets in my garage. Lately I've been learning about machine learning.

About this blog

Kids Love Science & Experimentation - and so do I!

Here is a compilation of Blogs and information on stuff that I work on with kids in our community - and also other articles or information that might be interesting to other people who are 'diving deep' into STEM

Created: September 07, 2014

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