Water floats and ice sinks, right? Frozen water is heavier and denser than when it is in its liquid state. Or is it? This activity is all about experimenting with different liquids and their densities.
In one of our most popular experiments, the 9-Layer Density Column, each liquid is stacked up on the next and do not separate because of their density. Objects sink to different levels based on their density.
Taking a lesson from the 9-Layer Density tower, we tried a new experiment with food coloring, water, an ice cube, baby oil and a mystery liquid. Watch the Sick Science! video and try to guess the mystery liquid before reading further.
Did you figure out the mysterious liquid? It was vegetable oil.
The basis of the Light Ice, Heavy Water experiment relies on density. Density = mass ÷ volume, which essentially equates to how many atoms are within a certain space. It is tough to see, but when you add baby oil to the vegetable oil in the container, the baby oil settles on top of the vegetable oil. This is because baby oil is a less-dense liquid than vegetable oil. That’s where water comes in to the picture.