Friction and Food Coloring - Heat Experiments - Chemistry
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Friction and Food Coloring

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You cans easily make things hotter than they were before. Start by rubbing your hands together, and you'll see that they feel hot. That's because the energy you used up moving your hands against the friction of them touching each other turns into heat energy.

Another way to make things hotter is to put them out in the sun. Try putting a pan of cold water out in the sun on a warm day, for instance.

Your class can show how molecules get farther apart when they get more energy: first stand still close together on the playground, and then start jumping up and down and thrashing around. After a while, somebody yell, STOP! You will see that you are much farther apart (and much warmer) than you were when you were standing still.

Another way to see this is to fill one clear glass or plastic bowl with cold water and another one with hot water. Add a drop of food coloring to each bowl. Because the molecules of water in the hot bowl are moving faster, they will spread the food coloring faster than the water in the cold bowl (Thanks to CalTech for these two ideas).

Find out more about heat
More chemistry projects

Bibliography and further reading:

Heat
Atoms
Chemistry
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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