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Eruptions of Colors

What You Need:

• Tall glass or bottle
• Water
• Cooking oil
• Cup
• Fork
• Food coloring

Tip: This works best if you use a small amount of food coloring.

Question: How can you create an eruption of color?

1) First, fill the bottle nearly to the top with water.

2) Then, pour a few tablespoons of cooking oil into a cup.

3) Put a few drops of food coloring into the oil. Use two or three different colors.

4) Now, mix the oil and food coloring with a fork.

5) Pour the mixture on top of the water in the bottle.

6) Watch as an amazing display of colors erupts before your very eyes! Can you explain what happened?

A Scientific Explanation:

The oil and food coloring mixture floats on top of the water because oil is lighter than water. Food coloring is mostly water with some dye, or coloring, so it is heavier than the oil. Because the tiny drops of food coloring are heavier than the oil, they sink through and color the water below.


Try different combinations of oil, water, and food coloring. What happens when you alter, or change, the mixture?