Four Million Molecules That Stretch to the Moon – Gravi-Goo and Newton's Beads

In one cup of Gravi-Goo there is about four million linked molecules. The long strands of molecules are called polymers. Pour the liquid from cup to cup and the long strand of molecules will pull each other along, or siphon from one cup to another. They are so determined to stay together, that they will pull each other uphill.

After experimenting with the Gravi-Goo, Steve and his sons threw the mixture away. (You don’t want to pour it down the drain.) A little bit of goo hung over the side of the trash can. The next morning, a large pool of Grav-Goo sat on the floor. As the small blob of molecules began to fall from the trash can to the ground, they pulled their friends along and siphoned out of the trash can.

For a more visual demonstration of what happens with self-siphoning polymers, use Newton’s Beads. The beads come in a 50 or 250 foot-long strands. Hold the container upright, and pull one end of the chain over the edge. The beads will pour onto the floor in a matter of seconds using inertia and their connection to all of the other links in the chain. You have to see it to believe it.

3 replies
  1. Nancy Peterson
    Nancy Peterson says:

    How can we reach Steve, to see if he would be a keynote speaker at our “For the Love of Reading” conference (for teachers and librarians) in Park City, Utah on Sept. 19 & 20, 2013 (in exactly one year!)? Please, may we have his contact information? Nancy Peterson, Chair, UVU Forum on Engaged Reading (UVU is Utah Valley University).

  2. J
    J says:

    4 million atoms, say a typical atomic bond length is of order a couple 10^-10 meters, which gives a molecular length of about 1 millimeter, not to the moon and back.


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