Thursday, February 2, 2017

Properties of water demonstrated

In this water experiment, our six-member group was divided into 3 pairs mixing different materials with water to see how water reacts in various environments. The first group mixed water with sand; the second group mixed water with a sponge and rope; the third group mixed water with a clay piece. Each group finished with different results with the water. No reactions took place in the experiment with water and sand. The sand simply settled on the bottom of the water in the tray because sand itself is heavier than water, therefore, it does not float. Next what happened in the experiment with water and sponge was quite interesting. When we placed the sponge in the water, the sponge itself simply sucked up all the water immediately reducing the water amount in the tray. In addition, when the rope was mixed with the water, it softened and expanded. Lastly, in the experiment with water and clay, the clay did not react much to the water although it softened the clay a bit and made it sticky.


In relating to what we learned in lectures, this lab was able to highlight just how fast the water demonstrated adhesion and cohesion to different surfaces. By pouring the water on the salt initially, we were able to observe a quick spread of water throughout the pan and what parts were able to adhere to the different surfaces. Pouring water on the sponge displayed the surface tension of water and force of cohesion between the water molecules as well as the force of adhesion between the water and the extremely dry sponge that is caused by the hydrogen bonds and their polarity.  Even now, the rope seems to shimmer with droplets of water clinging to it, and the clays base and changed texture after the water had enveloped it. These acts all came together to make the very invisible and subtle effects of adhesion and cohesion visible to us all.


Relating this to our topic on patterns, some of the things we have noticed while experimenting with water is the dish washing pad. We noticed that when we poured water slowly on the pad, spherical droplets of water formed and continued until we stopped pouring. Once we stopped pouring, the water filled in the empty pores and formed patterns on the pad. Additionally, water can be present in different forms. It could expand materials and it could also be sucked up by materials. Therefore, water can be considered as a natural beauty because it could do so many amazing stuff.

In conclusion, this experiment helped understand how to articulate a scientific narrative by observing abstract signals from nature. Similar to what it is stated on the lab 2 information sheet, abstract features “combine to create an aesthetic, which makes ‘sense’ out of random signals”. This basically means that small meaningless details can come together to create a bigger picture. Relating this to today’s lab, each water droplet, which was meaningless to the eye by itself, came together to create a significant body of water. We usually observe these abstract signals as a collection rather than looking at the deeper abstract details. Instead, we should look at the abstract in order to understand how the bigger picture is formed. We are able to see the body of water because the water droplets come together because of cohesion. 

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