Materials List: Measuring Viscosity

Each group needs:

  • ruler
  • stopwatch
  • graduated cylinder (the taller the better)
  • marble or steel ball (must be half the diameter of the cylinder or smaller, and sink in the fluid being measured; the slower the ball sinks, the easier it is to measure the viscosity)
  • Viscosity Activity Worksheet, one per person
  • calculators
  • Internet access, to research viscosities for one worksheet question

To share with the entire class:

  • thick, somewhat clear household fluids, such as motor oil, corn syrup, pancake syrup, shampoo, liquid soap (perhaps a different fluid for each 1-2 groups), enough of each liquid to fill a graduated cylinder for each group that tests it
  • scale, to measure the masses of graduated cylinders, with and without the liquids