Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Observing the behavior of water

In this water experiment we observed mass flow through experimentation with a sponge and dishwasher pad. We filled a beaker with water, and poured it over both objects; witnessing the effects these different materials have on the flow of water. The sponge absorbed the majority of water that was poured on it, but eventually became over-saturated. Whereas, when pouring water through the dishwasher pad, the water dispersed and created a puddle underneath.
During our lecture this week we discussed the characteristics of water, and during this lab we got to observe them in action. Water coming from the faucet or out of the beaker demonstrates mass flow. Depending on what material was used, water would demonstrate adhesion to different surfaces. Surface tension explains why it would bead up on top of the different materials. Two lectures ago we discussed the different states of water. In lab today we experimented with water in its liquid state. How water was broken up after passing through different material showed its variable size and arrangement in the liquid state.
The abstract forms signals from nature can say a lot. There are endless properties of science simply by looking at nature, and the abstract forms contribute heavily to a scientific narrative. For example, when we are cooking or cleaning using water, we can use the principles of water that we have learned to understand the behind-the-scenes, scientific narratives that are at work. Furthermore, the abstract signs we can observe may lead us to raise further questions, and then the questions we raise can be answered using the emic approach learned in class.
This lab took what we learned in lecture and applied it to a hands on experience. Through this application we are actually able to see the different properties of water instead of just being lectured about it. The different activities--decision making, note taking, visualizing--involved in the experiment activates different parts of the brain. Hence, one is able to retain more information.
In terms of making the “invisible” visible, the sponges provided for this lab are a great help. By dipping a sponge in a pool of water allows us to observe the otherwise invisible mass flow. As we watched the water be absorbed by the sponge, we could apply the new knowledge we have attained about mass flow to imagine the molecules, in a state of cohesion, “climbing” against gravity and then re-forming the hydrogen bonds once within the sponge itself.
The experiments that we did today have certain constraints due to materials and environments. First the choices of materials are limited. The materials that are available for our experiments are far less than those in nature. Also we cannot create real conditions such as tide, river or waterfall. Therefore, our experiments have constraints.

Our subtopic from last week is "constraints and innovations". Although water has no life, we can consider it as a form of evolution. When we pour water on dishwashing pad, sponge, and beaker; we observe that water will change its physical shape to flow through the space as a whole group (It's still in liquid form and water molecule itself doesn't change).

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