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Amazing Science Experiment: Travelling Water

Have you ever seen water travels? Do you know you can do this really really simple Science experiment at home with really really easily found materials at home?

– 2 cups
– a long string (not a thread or polyester string as it needs to be thick and can absorb water)
– water (of course!)
– scotch tape
– food colouring (optional)

1. Get ready the materials. Dipped the string in the water to get it wet.
2. Use the scotch tape to tape 1 end of the string inside the cup and the other end in the other cup.
2. Half fill 1 cup with water. Don’t get too excited and fill the cup to the brim, otherwise you will need to prepare a mop and mop!
3. Add a little food colouring so that you have a more visible view of how the water travels.
4. Hold the cups far enough apart (string will be straight or slightly bent but not too far to pull off the tape). Top cup is the one with water and bottom cup is empty.
5. Slowly but surely pour the water down towards the bottom cup. Watch what is happening!

What happened?
The water travels from the top cup to the bottom cup without spilling all over with just a string between the 2 cups. Why? Because a drop of water is made up of gazillion molecules that are held together by electrical, molecular bonds. These molecular bonds are very strong which is why they stick together very well. This is called cohesion.

When the water molecules are attracted to molecules of other objects, such as the string, this is called adhesion. That is why you noticed the water stick to the string when it moves down. Adhesion and cohesion prevented the water from dripping. But if you are pouring too much or too fast, the water will spill due to gravity.

Importance of adhesion and cohesion
Do not underestimate this adhesion and cohesion forces as it has its importance to living things. For example, insects that rely on surface tension to stay afloat on the surface of the water and the movement of the water to the top of the trees.

Further challenges:
– Try it out with other liquids such as milk or soda and see if it works the same as water.
– Try it out with different types of strings to explore further with different liquids.

Smarties had an awesome time with the experiment. It was challenging for them as well because they were trying hard not to spill the water all over the place. Psst… they did spill all over the very first time they tried but, of course, they have to clean up on their own. It’s their responsibility, isn’t it? hehe…

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Karen

    It takes some steady hands to do the pouring, I’m sure. So love this interesting and easy experiment, we have to try! Love too, your girl’s expression in the first photo.

    1. YoungSmarties

      Oh yes! Steady hands required. Initial try, they spilled the water all over the place…hehe
      Luckily I stand-by the camera! Thanks for the kind words 🙂

  2. Mary H

    Nice experiment! I’ve not thought of cohesion and adhesion in this way. The experiment is very simple, yet amazing to watch when the water flows down the string. Can even use this experiment as a science magic trick and challenge the child to pour water from one cup to another at that distance before “performing” the trick.

    1. YoungSmarties

      That’s true! Can use this experiment as a magic trick. Get a thinner string so that it’s not that obvious 😉

  3. Vivien

    This is really interesting! 🙂 Would like to try it with my kids! Thank you for sharing!

    1. YoungSmarties

      My pleasure!

  4. Dee

    Wow, science is so fun at home for yr kids! Lucky them! Need to try these some day too! 😀

    1. YoungSmarties

      Yes, is really fun. For your kids, maybe can just pour between different sizes of cups for training motor skills 😉

    1. YoungSmarties

      Yeah, go try it. Super easy to set up 😉

  5. Michelle

    So simple and yet it must be so fun for the kids to learn. I have totally forgotten those terms. Gave them all back to the teacher. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. YoungSmarties

      Frankly speaking, I have forgotten too! I have to do some research and read through the notes in order to do it with the kids 😉

  6. David Sim

    Amazing science experiment indeed! One that I might just try this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

    1. YoungSmarties


  7. Shub

    Wow, so easy and yet a big concept to learn…I will surely try with my kids.

    1. YoungSmarties

      Oh yes! Do try 🙂

  8. Ai Sakura

    Haha such a cool experiment and thanks for explaining how it works too! 🙂

    1. YoungSmarties


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