How do you do the walking rainbow experiment?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

To conduct the walking rainbow experiment, you will need the following materials:

1. Colored water: Prepare several cups of water, each with a different food coloring added. You can use colors like red, blue, green, and yellow. Make sure the water is saturated with the food coloring to get vibrant results.

2. Paper towels: Take a strip of paper towel and fold it repeatedly until it forms a long, thin strip, about 1 to 2 inches wide. The folded strip will act as a bridge or pathway for the colored water to travel.

3. Empty glass: You will need an empty glass or container to serve as the endpoint for the colored water.

Now, let’s go through the steps of the experiment:

1. Take the folded paper towel strip and dip one end into the colored water of your choice. Ensure the paper towel absorbs the water from the cup.

2. Place the other end of the paper towel strip into the empty glass. The strip should hang freely, with one end in the colored water and the other end in the empty glass.

3. Let the setup sit undisturbed for about an hour. During this time, the colored water will gradually travel up the paper towel strip and “walk” into the empty glass.

4. After an hour, return to the glass and observe what has happened. You will notice that the colored water has traveled up the paper towel strip and into the empty glass. The colors may mix and create new colors where they meet.

This experiment demonstrates capillary action, which is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces or against gravity without the assistance of external forces, such as through the fibers of the paper towel. As the water is absorbed by the paper towel, it moves upward, defying gravity and carrying the colored molecules along with it.

The walking rainbow experiment can be a fascinating way to observe how liquids move and mix, and it can also be a great opportunity to discuss concepts like absorption, cohesion, and surface tension with children or students.

Remember to exercise caution while working with food coloring to avoid staining clothes or surfaces. It’s also important to dispose of the colored water properly after the experiment.

I hope you enjoy conducting the walking rainbow experiment and observing the beautiful colors in action!