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Cornstarch solution

by WiFO215
Tags: cornstarch
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WiFO215
#1
Feb27-10, 09:49 AM
P: 414
I was playing around with cornstarch solution as I saw on T.V. that it had some really funny properties. It becomes hard when you hit it, but its soft if you go slow on it.
I was preparing some at home in two containers. In one container however, I added too much water. Having finished the cornstarch, I couldn't add more. So to get rid of this extra water, I tried to heat the solution, but instead of returning to normal, globules formed in the solution as it became thicker. I'm finding it very difficult to make it normal.
Why does this happen? What does adding extra water and then heating do to the mix?
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WiFO215
#2
Mar1-10, 12:39 AM
P: 414
Anyone?
pantaz
#3
Mar1-10, 10:01 AM
P: 589
Sounds to me like you simply cooked the cornstarch. If you want to remove water, just let the (uncooked) mixture sit, undisturbed, and the cornstarch will eventually settle, then just pour off some of the water.

Google "non-newtonion fluids" for more information, recipes and experiments.

Andy Resnick
#4
Mar1-10, 11:41 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,528
Cornstarch solution

Quote Quote by anirudh215 View Post
I was playing around with cornstarch solution as I saw on T.V. that it had some really funny properties. It becomes hard when you hit it, but its soft if you go slow on it.
I was preparing some at home in two containers. In one container however, I added too much water. Having finished the cornstarch, I couldn't add more. So to get rid of this extra water, I tried to heat the solution, but instead of returning to normal, globules formed in the solution as it became thicker. I'm finding it very difficult to make it normal.
Why does this happen? What does adding extra water and then heating do to the mix?
Cornstarch in solution is an example of a dilatant (shear thickening) fluid:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilatant

The phenomenon is partially understood at best- hand-waving arguments about tangled polymers are usually invoked. It's a nonlinear effect, and part of a more general phenomena:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Newtonian_fluid

Unfortunately, when you heated the solution, you most likely made some irreversible changes to the starch itself, causing the behavior you experienced. best to just start over- next time, mix the material much more slowly. It's a nonlinear effect, so there's a narrow range of concentration that will produce the dramatic effect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oobleck
WiFO215
#5
Mar2-10, 10:36 PM
P: 414
Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
Cornstarch in solution is an example of a dilatant (shear thickening) fluid:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilatant

The phenomenon is partially understood at best- hand-waving arguments about tangled polymers are usually invoked. It's a nonlinear effect, and part of a more general phenomena:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-Newtonian_fluid

Unfortunately, when you heated the solution, you most likely made some irreversible changes to the starch itself, causing the behavior you experienced. best to just start over- next time, mix the material much more slowly. It's a nonlinear effect, so there's a narrow range of concentration that will produce the dramatic effect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oobleck
I see. So not many people have done research on this stuff yet? Is it an open topic?
Andy Resnick
#6
Mar3-10, 07:33 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,528
In as much as the nonlinear dynamics of materials is an open topic, yes.


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