Extreme Science: Inertia Sticks

Water on a tightrope

What you will need:

  • Pitcher
  • Different types of string, including yarn. Each should be about 2 -3 feet in length
  • Drinking glass
  • Water
  • Towels (just in case)
  • Adult supervision


1) Tie one end of your strings to the top of the handle on your pitcher.

2) Fill the pitcher with water.

3) Dip the yarn into the water to make sure that it is wet.

4) Hold the loose end of the yarn just inside the drinking glass.

5) Pass the yarn from the handle over the mouth of the pitcher and down the spout to the glass about two feet away from the pitcher.

6) Hold the pitcher about a foot off of the table making sure that the yarn is being pulled tight between the pitcher and the glass.

7) Slowly begin to pour the water down the wet yarn.

Lift the pitcher about one foot off the table, and the length of the yarn away from your glass. Hold the pitcher so that the yarn is being pulled tight over the top of the pitcher and slowly begin to pour the water.

What is going on?

As you pour the water down the string, the water will cling to the yarn as it moves sideways down to the glass. The surfaced tension of the water helps hold it together as well as the attraction between the water and the yarn, which is stronger than the pull of gravity.

Speaking of surface tension of water, if you haven’t seen the video of the astronaut wringing out a washcloth in space with no gravity, check out the video here;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8TssbmY-GM (as long as it is ok with Mom and Dad)

Try this:

Try using the other types of strings such as thread, Para cord, small rope, etc Does it make a difference what type of string you use? Does the thickness of the string make a difference?

If it is ok with your parents, try longer string to see how long of a string can you pour the water down into the glass?

Radical Rick

Extreme Science