Monday, January 19, 2015

Salt Lava Experiment

Salt Lava #Experiment #science #homeschool

Celia came home from school and was bursting to share her science lab with everyone.  I have to admit, this was pretty cool.  Plus, she had awesome timing -  Jude and I have been working on a volcano unit study, so making lava sounded like fun to him. 

How it works: The dry salt is denser than the water and vegetable oil, which allows it to sink to the bottom. As it passes through the oil, the oil coats the salt.  Because oil is less dense than water, the oil-coated salt rises to the top.   The salt dissolves in the water, and the oil carried down by the salt rises back to the top.

Materials Needed:

towel, plate, or cutting board
250 mL glass container (beaker or drinking glass)
125 mL water (about 1/2 c.)
25 ml vegetable oil (about 1/3 c.)
1-3 drops food coloring
2-3 Tbsp salt
dishwashing detergent


1. Measure water into the beaker.  Place it on the towel.  (This makes cleaning up spilled salt easier.)

2.  Add vegetable oil and food coloring.

3. Sprinkle pinches of salt on top of the oil.  (Larger pinches will create larger bubbles, but if you put too much in at one time, it won't work.)

adding salt

watching the bubbles rise back to the top

4.  When you're done, clean up by pouring the oil/water into the sink.  Rinse the sink well, and wash your beaker with the soap.  (We used Dawn because it works very well to remove oil.)  Rinse and dry the beaker.  Carefully pick up your towel and shake the spilled salt into the trash, and put your other materials away.


You don't want to drink this!  It's not poisonous, but it tastes pretty bad and may make you feel nauseous. 

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  1. Cool! We're working on volcanoes this week, and I might have to work this in :-)

  2. That's cool. We've done lots with oil and water, but we haven't tried this. :-)

  3. This looks so cool! I added it to my homeschooling Pinterest board. Thanks for sharing and linking up to the #shinebloghop!

  4. Oooh, this looks like a good science experiment to do with my 4yr old. I'm pinning it as well.

    Visiting from the Shine Blog Hop.


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