It’s fun, easy and inexpensive. It does take a little bit of patience though….. Just remember to have fun!
First you need to gather up the materials you will need. Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:
- A glass of water
- An empty glass
- Paper towels
Are you ready? Let’s get started. First, you’ll need to twist a couple of pieces of paper towels together. The twisting of the paper towels should look something like a rope when you’re done. The rope will act as the wick that absorbs and transfers the water. Sort of like how the wick of a candle transfers the wax to the flame. Place one end of the paper towels (the rope) into the glass filled with water and the other end of the paper towels into the empty glass. This is where the patience comes in….you’ll need to sit and watch for a while to observe what is happening.
So what’s happening? After a while you’ll notice that the empty glass is starting to fill up with water. It will keep filling up with water until both glasses have the same amount of water in them. Your paper towel rope starts getting wet and it starts moving along the tiny gaps in the paper towels. This occurs because the cohesive forces between the water and the paper towels are stronger than the adhesive forces of the water itself. Cool, huh?
This whole process is called capillary action and can be applied to other examples as well, such as the way moisture travels in a plant from the roots through the stem up to the rest of the plant.