May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Liquids, Solids, and Water Lab

Posted: Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Name __________________

Date ___________________

Partners’ Names _________

by Jeff Bradbury and Patricia Buchanan

Question: Water is unique in that it is the only natural substance that is found in all three states: liquid, solid (ice), and gas (steam).  What are the molecular differences between each of the states?

Purpose:  To develop a theory that explains why liquids and solids behave the way they do.

Unique Properties of water:

Less dense as a solid
Liquid at room temperature
High surface tension
High heat capacity
Universal solvent

Other properties of liquids:

Cohesion
Diffusion
Adhesion
Viscosity

Procedure and Observations and Data:

1. In this lab you will work in groups of three.  Go to each station (not necessarily in order) and follow the directions in the procedure.  Make sure you go to all stations.

2. Record your observations and give a brief explanation for each of the stations.

3. Draw a diagram (model) for stations 2, 5, and 6 showing the molecular level of what the particles are doing.

Stations:

Station 1: Drops on a penny

Station 2: Boyle’s law apparatus noncompressibility of liquids

Station 3: Drops on a microslide

Station 4: Floating a paper clip on water

Station 5: Food coloring in hot and cold water

Station 6: Marbles in different liquids

Station 7: Dragging drops

Station 8: Observing crystals

*Make sure to return each station to its original condition when your group is finished.

Part 1 Stations:

Station 1: Drops on a penny

Materials:  Beaker of de-ionized water, a beaker of soapy water, place droppers in each, and two pennies.

Procedure:  Put as many drops of water and soapy water on two different pennies.

Observations:

How many drops of pure water fit onto the penny?________

How many drops of soapy water fit onto the penny?________

Explain the difference

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Station 2: Boyle’s law apparatus noncompressibility of liquids

Materials:  Two Boyle’s Law apparatus, (syringes) one with water and one with water and air.

Procedure:  Try pressing on the two blocks (don’t press too hard).

Observations:

What is the difference between the two?

What causes the difference between the two?

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Black box diagram of liquids in syringe

Station 3: Drops on a microslide

Materials:  Six microslides, two droppers, a beaker of water, and a beaker of soapy water.

Procedure:

Put two dry microslides together and then pull them apart.

Put a drop of water on two slides. Place them together and then pull them apart.

Put a drop of soapy water on two slides place them together and then pull them apart.

Observations:

What was it like pulling the three different pairs of microslides apart?

Explain the difference.

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Station 4: Floating a paper clip on water

Materials:  Two 600 ml beakers, one with de-ionized water and one with soapy water, four paper clips.

Procedure:  Using one of the bent paperclips try to make another paper clip float on the surface of the water in the beaker.

Observations:

Was it easier to float the paperclip in one of the beakers?  Explain why.

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Station 5: Food coloring in hot and cold water

Materials:  Hot plate, beaker tongs, two 1000ml beakers, ice, two 250 ml beakers, food coloring.

Procedure:  Using the beaker tongs, pour some hot water from the beaker on the hot plate into one of the empty beakers.  Pour some of the ice water (without pouring any ice) into the other empty beaker.  Add one drop of food coloring to each of the beakers you poured water into.

Record your observations.

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Black Box diagram:

Food coloring in hot water Food coloring in cold water

Station 6: Marbles in three different liquids

Materials: Three marbles each in a labeled and sealed jar/bottle of water, alcohol, and glycerin.

Procedure:  Invert the three flasks and watch the marbles go to the bottom of each bottle.

Observations:

Did the marbles fall through the liquids at the same rate?  Explain

Draw three black box diagrams that show at the molecular level why the marbles fall at different rates in the different liquids:

Alcohol

Water Glycerin

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Station 7: Dragging drops

Materials:  Two sheets of wax paper, two eyedroppers, beaker of de-ionized water and a beaker of soapy water.

Procedure:  Put drops of water from each beaker onto the separate pieces of wax paper.

(Do not contaminate the beakers by switching droppers.)

Try to drag the drops around with the dropper.

Observations:

How many drops of the soapy water could you drag?_________

How many drops of the de-ionized water could you drag?_______

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Station 8: Observing crystals

Materials:  Examples of several crystals, models of crystals

Make some observations about the crystals.

How are they different from each other?

What property(s) of liquids is demonstrated here?  How?

Look at the models of the crystals.  What do you observe?  What is the major difference between liquids and solids?

Draw a black box diagram that shows the difference between gases, solids, and liquids.

Gases Solids Liquids

Conclusions and Reflections:

What properties of liquids are different from gases?

What causes this difference?

What properties of solids are different from liquids?

What causes this difference?

Jeff Bradbury is a professor of chemistry at Cerritos College in Norwalk and is community college director for CSTA; Patricia Buchanan is the Cal Grip Grant Project Assistant at Cerritos College.  The original idea for this activity came from the Los Angeles County Office of Education 15 years ago, which the authors modified.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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