In this post, we show you how to make Oobleck—a gooey substance that is often used in science projects—without using cornstarch, a common ingredient in most recipes for Oobleck.
You know the game. You grab a big handful of cornstarch, add a few drops of water and let it thicken. It’s so simple that it doesn’t even have a name. But once you make oobleck—or “wiggle flub,” as some call it—you’ll find yourself wondering why it’s called a science experiment in the first place. You’ve got this. Why not give your kids the satisfaction of making a science experiment? Try it yourself and you’ll be hooked! In the post below, you’ll learn how to make oobleck without cornstarch.
What is Oobleck?
Oobleck is one of those things that sounds scary but when you really get down to it, it’s not. The word comes from the Latin “oobo” meaning “like oil.” Oobleck is basically just water and gelatin—and this makes it a perfect solution to many of the physics problems we have at home. Oobleck is easy to make, and it is a great classroom tool because it is a liquid and can be used as a substitute for other liquids. Oobleck is commonly used to explain gravity.
Oobleck is made up of corn syrup, cornstarch, and water, and it’s an excellent example of how you can use a seemingly simple recipe to achieve an interesting effect. As you mix the ingredients together, the mixture will start to thicken as the cornstarch absorbs the liquid. Oobleck is a great science experiment for children because it’s so easy to create and manipulate. It’s also a fun way to explain the concepts of solids, liquids, and gasses to children. The recipe I’ve given you is for a more advanced version of oobleck, but it’s a good starting point if you don’t have access to a chemistry set.
I used my favorite measuring tool, the tablespoon. I made a mixture of 1/4 cup of arrowroot starch and 2 cups of water. I stirred it and let it sit for about ten minutes. I then stirred it again to make sure there were no lumps. I poured the mixture into a bowl. It started out as a thick paste, but soon it got thinner. I thought this was great because it was easier to stir. Then I mixed in 1/2 cup of arrowroot and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. I stirred it until it was a smooth liquid. I poured this mixture into the bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I was able to pour it out onto a clean surface to see if it looked like any type of substance you would want to play with. I was happy to see that it looked like the original Oobleck. The only change I made was that I used arrowroot instead of cornflour.
The Science Behind Oobleck
Oobleck is one of my favorite science experiments. I love making it with kids and seeing their face when they first see it slosh around in their hands. But if you’ve never tried to make it before, it can be tricky. I’ll tell you what’s happening, and then explain how you can avoid the most common pitfalls. To begin with, oobleck is just a water-based, thickener-free slurry. It looks like this: Oobleck is basically made up of equal parts of cornstarch (or arrowroot) and water. If you’ve ever made homemade gravy, you’re probably familiar with the consistency of oobleck. It’s a little bit goopy but mostly dry. This is because of the ratio of cornstarch and water that makes it. Water is relatively less dense than cornstarch, so it will rise to the surface of the liquid where it drips. This allows the water to be the first thing that evaporates, leaving behind the cornstarch. The same principle applies to oobleck.
It is non-Newtonian in that the rate at which it flows is dependent on the force applied. It has a thick, slimy consistency when first poured and, over time, thins out. Oobleck is the basis for many different products, including some very interesting kitchen experiments.
Oobleck, which sounds like it was created by a child, was actually invented by a physicist to test Newton’s second law of motion: “A body at rest will stay at rest and a body in motion stays in motion until acted upon by some force.” Oobleck is a mixture of corn syrup, water, and food coloring. The science behind it: a solid, when mixed with a liquid, does not flow. It remains in its original state. But when the two phases are combined, they meld into one. As a result, the mixture looks like it’s made out of two different substances.
In conclusion, making Oobleck is really not that hard. What you need is a plastic sandwich bag, some water, and a lot of elbow grease. To make it look like more than just water, you can add cornstarch. This can be done in a variety of ways. You can stir it up in the bag, add the water and cornstarch at the same time, and then shake it around until the mixture looks like oobleck. Or, you can add the cornstarch first, then add the water, and gently mix the two until it starts to congeal. This can take a little while to happen, and you might have to keep adding water until it does. You can even add food coloring for fun. Just be careful to avoid over-mixing the oobleck so that you don’t get an oil slick on your clothes. You can also add other liquids to it, such as vodka, beer, or juice, but make sure to add them at the last minute or you will end up with a gluey mess.