Have you ever Heard of chromatography?
Chromatography is a chemical process of the separation of a mixture (like ink in a marker) by passing a solution through a medium (like water).
Scientists and artists discovered that if a sheet of paper or cloth with ink on it makes contact with water (or alcohol), the color is dissolved! The liquid spreads through the cloth or paper, and carries the ink along with it. The cool part is that the ink will start to separate and you will see different components of the color!
This looks like beautiful art, but it is also science. We learned that the largest molecules (groups of atoms) of the ink and water will travel more slowly, while the smallest ones race ahead. This creates beautiful bands of color along your paper or cloth.
From Art to Science: Chromatography was first used by artists for beautiful patterns and dyes in fabrics. Now, we also use it to understand and purify liquid mixture in chemistry.
Here's what you need:
- Non permanent markers
- White coffee filters
- Cups of water
- Pipe cleaners (Don't have any? Try using string!)
Choose one marker to experiment with first. Don't be afraid to use black and brown. They will surprise you!
Draw a thick circle around the center of a coffee filter where the ridged part meets the flat center. Use a pencil to write the color of the marker being used right in the center.
You’ll want to know what the original color was being used, and the pencil won’t smear and will remain intact after the experiment.)
Fold the coffee filter in half and then in half again. It should look like a triangle or cone.
Fill a short glass with lukewarm water (try different temperatures to see if they change the outcome!) Pull apart the cone shaped coffee filter so it balances right on the glass with the tip of the cone just touching the water. (Be sure NOT to let the marker circle go in the water, just the uncolored tip of the coffee filter cone.)
Let it sit and watch what happens as the water begins to flow up the paper. Record your findings! Repeat the steps with different colored markers and/or different temperatures of water.
Unfold your coffee filters and place them on newspaper to dry. Once they are fully dry, scrunch them up in the middle. The two sides will be the wings!
Wrap a pipe cleaner or string around the middle and shape them to make antennae.
Attach a string to your butterfly and have an adult help you hang it up to fly!