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Seven Layer

Density Column

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  1. Glass Cylinder

  2. Honey

  3. Corn Syrup

  4. Dish Soap

  5. Water

  6. Vegetable Oil

  7. Rubbing Alcohol

  8. Lamp oil

  9. Medicine dropper

  10. Potentially useful tool: Talking Color Sensor



  1. Measure 8 ounces of each type of liquid into the seven plastic cups. Depending on the size of the glass cylinder, you might need more or less of each liquid—8 ounces is just a good starting point. You may want to color the corn syrup and the rubbing alcohol with a few drops of food coloring to create a more dramatic effect in your column. 

  2. For the first layer, start by pouring honey through the center of the glass cylinder without letting it touch the sides. Pour slowly and carefully

  3. The next layer is corn syrup. Again, try not to let the corn syrup touch the sides of the container as you’re pouring. The key is to pour slowly and evenly.

  4. Repeat the same procedure for dish soap for the next layer

  5. For the next layer you will need water. From this point forward, you must let the liquids touch the sides of the cylinder. Dip the tip of the medicine dropper in the cup of water, squeeze the bulb, and draw up some water. Rest the tip of the medicine dropper on the inside wall of the cylinder and slowly squeeze the bulb. Let the water slowly trickle down the glass to create the next layer.

  6. You’ll use the medicine dropper once again for the next layer—vegetable oil. Use the inside wall of the cylinder to let the vegetable oil slowly trickle down and form the next layer.

  7. You will repeat the same procedure for rubbing alcohol

  8. For the last layer, you will repeat the same procedure you did for water and rubbing alcohol

Liquid color tower

Gather materials needed for experiment


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Adding liquid layers


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The temperature of the water should decrease after each tablespoon of Ammonium Chloride is added.


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Science behind this experiment:


The science here is density. Density is a measure of how much mass is contained in a given unit volume (density = mass divided by volume). If mass is a measure of how much “stuff” there is in an object or liquid, density is a measure of how tightly that “stuff” is packed together. Based on this density equation (Density = Mass ÷ Volume), if the weight (or mass) of something increases but the volume stays the same, the density has to go up. Likewise, if the mass decreases but the volume stays the same, the density has to go down. Lighter liquids (like water or rubbing alcohol) are less dense or have less “stuff” packed into them than heavier liquids (like honey or corn syrup). Every liquid has a density number associated with it.

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