Density Cocktail

A large glass column is prepared with layers of mercury, carbon tetrachloride, water, and oil. There are various objects in the column that float on a given layer depending upon its density.

Equipment

  • Large glass column
  • Various items to float in the column

Reagents

  • mercury
  • carbon tetrachloride (CCl4
  • water
  • oil

Presentation

  1. The column is presented already layered in the glass tube.
  2. There are various objects already in the column that float on a given layer depending upon its density -- piece of brass, masonite, nylon, cork.  The presenter can point to these and discuss why something floats at a particular level, etc.

Safety

toxic

Special Safety Notes

  • The glass column contains toxic chemicals that should not be exposed to the audience; it is capped the whole time.
density3
Close up of the column.
density2
The column from a little farther away.
density4
Another close up of the column showing things floating on different layers.