Learn about density in this fun and simple science experiment.

You Will Need

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Tablespoon
  • 5 glasses
  • Pipette/syringe

The Experiment

  1. Fill 4 glasses with water. Leave the 5th glass empty.
  2. Add 2-3 drops of food colouring to each glass of water. Add red colouring to the first glass, yellow to the second, green to the third, and blue to the fourth.
  3. In the glass with red colouring, do not add any sugar. In the yellow glass, add one tablespoon of sugar. In the green glass add two tablespoons of sugar. In the blue glass add three tablespoons of sugar. Leave the fifth glass empty. Stir the sugar/food colouring/water solution in each glass until the sugar is completely dissolved - you can use warm or room temperature water to speed this up and make sure all sugar is dissolved.
  4. Using the pipette or syringe, fill the empty 5th glass ¼ full with the blue sugar solution, then add ¼ of the green solution which should sit on top. Then add ¼ of the yellow solution, then ¼ of the red solution to finish. Go slowly, making sure the different layers don’t mix into each other. You should have created a rainbow!

The Science

Density is the number of particles in a given volume. When more sugar is added, more space between the water particles is filled. Adding sugar to the water increases the density of the water, so the more sugar in the solution, the greater the density.

The blue sugar solution has the most sugar so it is the densest as it has the highest number of sugar particles per 100ml of water. The densest solution stays at the bottom, with the least dense on top. The red solution has less sugar so has a lower density, and, as a result, stacks on top of the mixture with a higher density - so the differing densities separate out.

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