UConn Students ‘Walk on Water’

UConn engineering students play in a pool of oobleck (corn starch and water) as a live demonstration in the ITE lobby on Feb. 24, 2012. (Max Sinton for UConn)
UConn engineering students play in a pool of oobleck (corn starch and water) as a live demonstration in the ITE lobby on Feb. 24, 2012. (Max Sinton for UConn)

 

During National Engineers Week last week, UConn’s Engineering Ambassadors sponsored a different program each day to engage campus friends in activities and conversations about engineering. Friday’s demonstration focused on materials science engineering and featured students running across a fluid substance known as oobleck.

Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that ‘changes’ from a liquid to a solid when force is  applied (when students walk on it), but ‘changes’ back to a liquid when pressure is applied continuously (when the students stood still, they sank in ankle-deep).

The students built a tank measuring 7 feet by 3 feet by 1 foot and purchased 500 pounds of cornstarch to make the demonstration work with about 80 gallons of oobleck.