Friday, February 26, 2010

Non-Newtonian Fluids

Question: I am teaching a high school class about non-Newtonian fluids. Could you direct me to some cool facts and experiments on the subject?

Answer: "Interesting Thing of the Day" at http://itotd.com/articles/624/non-newtonian-fluids/ provides a background on the discovery and varieties of non-Newtonian fluids . At the bottom you will find a number of useful links. Perhaps the most fun are the YouTube experiment videos. The viscosity chart further clarifies the distinctions between the different types of fluids. Students may be interested in the links to geophysical diagrams and the MIT research group's page on man made and naturally occurring examples.

A step-by-step guide to an easy experiment is found on Instructables at http://www.instructables.com/id/Oobleck/. The lesson is directed at elementary kids, but the concept applies to all ages. Non-Newtonian fluid is sometimes referred to as an Oobleck based on Dr. Seuss' book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. This lesson incorporates the book into the experiment.

In addition, videos of reproducible experiments can be found on "TutorVista.com" at http://www.tutorvista.com/ks/non-newtonian-fluid-dynamics and "Wonder How To" at http://science.wonderhowto.com/how-to/make-non-newtonian-fluid-18105/.


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