Capillary Action In Action and Inaction

We are studying chemistry this year and one of our labs from our science book (check out PandiaPress) had us do the normal celery and blue water experiment. But I had also seen an experiment on Facebook and, without reading actually HOW to do the experiment, I decided we would do that as well.  So the first pics are of our “rainbow” made out of colored water and paper towels. It was neat to watch over the course of about three days the water “walk” over the paper towels and into the empty cups, and then the water just kept up walking up the other side of the paper towels – you can see that by the mixing of colors. (also I should mention I couldn’t find the red food coloring for the life of me so the first photos have two yellow cups – but then I obviously found it and so the yellow on the right end turned into dark orange.) Eventually the empty cups filled up to the same water level as the other cups. That in itself was neat to see.

But THEN our next capillary lab had to do with blocking the capillary action with oil – since oil molecules and water molecules don’t mix. We put a dot of food coloring on a paper towel, created a barrier of oil up the strip of towel a bit, and then set the strip in a cup of water. Here are our results. This was fun – and colorful. (And I just figured out how to make a slideshow (!) in the blog so it is extra fun to look at!)

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I slipped in there at the end a few photos of our celery stick. I like the photo of the xylem with the blue dye! It looks so weird.