Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mucking About in the Kitchen

Lauren decided that today would be a great day for crafts, so she found a book we had checked out of the library several overdue periods ago and located something with the enticing name of “Magic Muck.”

At this point it is probably appropriate to discuss the mental capacity of the sorts of people who name projects for crafts books. Because the first three or four things that came to my mind when Lauren suggested making this stuff were horrifyingly inappropriate for family fun. Unless your family is different from mine. Or perhaps you were thinking of starting a family. Or you’re a leprechaun.

This might be more my problem than the book’s, now that I think about it.


Magic Muck, it turns out, is a non-Newtonian fluid. Aaaaaand once again, there goes my mind. Hold on while I retrieve it.

So. Anyway. Non-Newtonian fluid. These are actually pretty cool things, since they change their state depending on how much pressure you put on them. You hold them gently and they’re a liquid. You subject them to acute pressure – pound on them, squeeze them, and so on – they firm up and become a solid.

All this from just water and cornstarch!

Mythbusters once did an episode on these things. If you do it right, you can fill up an entire swimming pool with them and run across it. You can also swim across it, if you get in gently. Or you could run halfway across, stop, and slowly sink in and then swim the rest of the way. It’s really quite versatile, if you have any actual need to do that.

They colored theirs blue, so Lauren did too.

Fortunately or unfortunately we only had 3/4 cup of cornstarch in the house, so we did not need to worry about swimming.

But the girls had a great time anyway.

Have you ever tried to clean this stuff up, though? It keeps changing state on you as you try to scrape it out of the bowl, like it knows you’re going to get rid of it and it just wants to stay.

You just have to hope that whenever it hits the plumbing it will stay liquid.

Next week: chain-saw juggling.


Catherine M said...

That looks like it was a lot of fun! I vaguely recall making something like this while in school--I have a picture from my school days where I am playing with stuff that looks a lot like this! I always did looking back wonder what that was--now I know!

David said...

Explaining childhood memories: just one more service we provide here at 4Q10D. ;)

And so much cheaper than therapy!