The Spangler Effect - Cornstarch Monster Season 01 Episode 42

Uploaded by TheSpanglerEffect on 31.10.2012


This week I've got something great for you.
You're going to need to get a whole bunch of materials, corn
starch, and water, and a bowl.
You're actually going to use your phone.
And you're going to get a tone generator.
You're going to get an amplifier--
STEVE SPANGLER: Higginsworth.
STEVE SPANGLER: I'm Steve Spangler, and I'm all about
making science fun.
For the last 20 years, I've been teaching ways to turn
ordinary science experiments into unforgettable learning
I have an amazing team who will do whatever it takes to
affect the way people think about science.
And to do that, I live by one motto, make it big, do it
right, give it class.

All right.
Dog's in.
Door's locked.
We're set.
Just look around for people, make sure we're OK.
Go, go, go, go, go.
Higgins, I thought you got the dog inside.
If you don't have speakers of your own, sometimes you can
borrow your neighbors, especially if you're
watching the dog.
You just have to be responsible.
Higgins, get the dog back in.
-(YELLING) Doggie.
It's not going to be a good day.
What I love about today is a combination of old and new.
You're going to do a classic experiment using corn starch
and water where we make this non-Newtonian fluid.
We're going to put a little twist on that, which makes it
kind of fun.
And that's why you're going to need to have all the other
things that I was talking about.
And especially these speakers that we just bought over here.
And even though Higginsworth broke these, this one will be
just perfectly fine.
It's just gonna need--
But these here are going to be perfect for
exactly what we need.

Big mixing bowl, corn starch, you're going
to need paper towels.
And you're going to need to have some--

water, because it's going to be messy.
Start with the corn starch.
All right, what we're actually making here is considered a
non-Newtonian fluid.
And more about that when we start looking at the thickness
of the mixture.
But again, I'm not going to dump the entire thing.
I'm gonna leave just a little bit there, because I'm going
to want to be able to, if it's too runny, add just a little
bit more without having to bust open
another box of corn starch.
If you haven't played with corn starch just by itself, it
has this crazy property just without water, almost squeaks
in your fingers.
As soon as you add water, you're just kind of working it
in, and waiting for it to be almost the
consistency of honey.
So just small batches of water and work it in.
The only way I found to do this is to work
it with your hands.
When we talk about a non-Newtonian fluid, it means
that it doesn't obey the rules or the laws that
Isaac Newton set out.
And he talked about viscosity.
Now, viscosity is the thickness of a material.
So, for example, honey or ketchup has a high viscosity,
water has a very low viscosity.
And it said that the only way that you can change viscosity
is with the temperature.
However, you're going to see here in just a minute, and as
you're playing with it you can see, that this almost becomes
like a solid when you put force on it.
And it's a liquid when you allow it to flow.
That's why they call it a non-Newtonian solution.
Let's see if this is just about right.
I think it's perfect.
When it has this consistency right here, you know that
you've got a perfect batch.
So make sure that the batch is good before you move on.
And now it's time for the slap test.
So you're going to take the mixture and pour the mixture
out onto a tray.
This is perfect.
It flows like a liquid.
And the only way that there's a change there, is with the
pressure or the stress that you put on this.
So normally, if you would take a liquid like this, this
liquid here, and you slap it, it would go everywhere.
I think it's going to be a solid.
Watch this.

That's awesome.
See, what we've actually made here is a suspension.
You have a finely dispersed particle, that's the corn
starch, dispersed in the liquid that's there, and it's
kind of holding it in place.
It doesn't last for a long time.
So you can't make a mixture of corn starch and water and
leave it for weeks and weeks.
It'll actually settle out and become
almost hard like concrete.
So you really only have a life expectancy of maybe four or
five hours as you're playing with this.
It's impossible to take your hands out of it and to
understand that you've actually made something that
defies Newton's laws of viscosity.
It's a liquid, and behaves like a solid at the same time.
All right, back to the bowl you go.

Look at the shear factor that's there.
It literally--
you can break off of a piece.
And you want to know the best thing?
The place that you do this, a friend's home, will look like
corn starch for the next five weeks.
Here's a cool thing to try.
Just take a small amount and actually roll it.
You can actually roll it.
It feels like it crumbles, or will roll into a ball.
And the moment you stop, it just simply flows.
It really is amazing.
All right, we're going to need to have an amplifier.
This a pretty good opportunity for you to head to your local
thrift store and just find something.
I would not damage any really, really good
equipment doing this.
So we're just using an amplifier.
I've hooked up the speaker in the very back of the amplifier
to these little clip leads that you see here because I
have a surplus speaker.
So we just found a speaker cabinet at a thrift store that
was damaged, and for $5.00, found the speaker.
By doing this enough, you're actually
going to ruin the speaker.
Look at this.
You can see that I've ruined the cone.
The cone has become detached from this as we've vibrated as
hard as we're gonna vibrate it here in just a second.
So don't use your best speakers.
Or, don't use your speakers.
Black lead to the black, red to the red.
And now we need tone.
So I'm just going to make sure that these stay separated and
don't touch.
And now we need a tone generator.
It's as simple as a free app on your phone.
All right, I just downloaded a tone frequency generator.
So go to your app store and search for a
tone frequency generator.
This was free.
And this just produces these tones.
STEVE SPANGLER: Now you need to take the tone generator and
plug it into the amplifier.
STEVE SPANGLER: Even with a bad speaker, it
sounds pretty good.
We're going to send the sound through the speaker, but I
don't want to ruin the speaker necessarily.
So I want to be able to cover it with a small amount of this
Saran Wrap here.
So this will keep the corn starch away from the cone.
And now we're going to take some of our corn starch
mixture and pour it right here onto the Saran Wrap that's on
top of the cone.
We want to be able to cover the entire speaker, but we
don't want too much.
That's just about enough, I think.

So we're gonna start with 1,000 hertz.
It's that tone that you've heard on video before, you
know that beeping sound.
Even though we're pumping it through at a pretty loud
volume, it's not doing anything, or affecting the
corn starch at all.
STEVE SPANGLER: Now we need to bring it a little lower.
STEVE SPANGLER: Ah, that's perfect.
That's what we're looking for.
Watch this.
As it starts to move, look at this.
It starts to behave almost like a little monster.
That's why they call them "corn starch
monsters." Look at this.
Look at the movement here.
Literally, it takes on a mind of it's own as it wiggles and
moves its way up, behaving like a solid and a liquid at
the same time, spraying everywhere.
But even this silly little speaker here that's not that
good does a pretty good job.
Wonder what it would look like if we had a great speaker.
While that little speaker was good, the neighbor's big
speaker, the speaker that we bought,
is going to be awesome.
Now, we don't want to ruin this speaker.
And so here's what I'm trying to do.
I want to cover it up with some plastic, you can see
we've done that.
A little bit duct tape around here.
And now, the corn starch goes right in the middle.
Who am I kidding?
This will ruin the speaker, because just the mere weight
of this on the cone will start to tear the cone away.
So do not use a good speaker.
And we got it from the thrift store as a joke.
So say you want to turn this into a science fair project.
It's very cool.
You just have to have a question.
So the question might be, at what frequency can you vibrate
a non-Newtonian fluid to give you the
best corn starch monster?
Pretty good.
You're going to have to download the app and try to
experiment on your own.
20 hertz is awesome.
Just between you and me.
But experiment.
All right, we're at 20 hertz.
Watch this.
STEVE SPANGLER: You start to see a little bit of distress
right here.
And then you start to see it move.
You notice that this big speaker is good.
But cranked up with 100 watt amplifier, this is about the
best I'm getting here.
So sometimes bigger is not necessarily better.
It is cool, but it's not giving us the corn starch
monster that we really want.
So while this doesn't produce the best corn starch monster,
you can vary the frequency and actually see the pattern that
different frequencies make.
It's kind of an interesting observation, especially since
you have the tone generator.
STEVE SPANGLER: Well, if we want good response, we have to
move to the sub-woofer.
This is perfect for that low base response.
I think it's going to give us exactly what we want.
STEVE SPANGLER: Sounding good.

This is just the perfect consistency.
Just thin enough to vibrate, but to still give you that
nice non-Newtonian property.
STEVE SPANGLER: You've got to play with the frequency,
because you're gonna get just the perfect frequency to give
you the greatest corn starch monsters.
Look at them start to move up here, kind of
dance their way around.

We need more.
We need color.
All right, a little bit of food coloring.
So here's some food coloring here.
Let's just see what this color here, whether or not it'll
shoot up and make some changes.
All we're looking for are some changes
in the little patterns.
And we think the colors are gonna make
this look pretty good.
STEVE SPANGLER: Ah, you can start to see these changes
right here.
Take a look at this.
That's awesome.

These incredible colors that you get just mixing.
It sits right in here.
STEVE SPANGLER: That's a cool corn starch monster.

STEVE SPANGLER: OK, if we just put these down, it'll be just
fine, I think.
Come here, dog.
Come on, come here.
Come here, dog.
That's not even the right dog.
STEVE SPANGLER: That's fine.
They'll never know.
OK, come here.
Come here, dog.
Stay right here, OK?
You stay here.
You watch after the speakers and your owner.
OK, stay there.
OK, run.
Stay there dog, stay there.