Is It Possible to Run Across Water?

by Cristian I

The substance is a mix of water and cornstarch. The mixture is two parts cornstarch to one part water. It demonstrates the properties of non-Newtonian fluids. Non-Newtonian fluids are solid if you apply a sudden force. and liquid if you apply a steady, slow force.

When you think about the people in human history who were famous for walking on water, only two of them exist in the minds of many: Jesus and Peter.

Credit Imgur

If you want, you could add Pedro into the mix.

That fellow can certainly run fast when a large beast is chasing him into the water! 😀

We use the term “walking on water” as an expression of faith. The story from the Bible appears in 75% of the gospels, and it’s said that those who witnessed Jesus and Peter out there worshiped him as the Son of God.

As crazy as it might be to think about walking on water, it is possible when you have a non-Newtonian fluid helping with the process. It’s called an oobleck pool, and it looks like the most remarkable thing you ever try doing.

What Is Oobleck?

Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that you make with cornstarch and water. If you’re used to making food thicker with a slurry of those two ingredients, you have an idea of what is happening when you create something on a much larger scale.

You can make your own at home to try the experiment of walking on water if you want. All it takes is one cup of water, up to two cups of cornstarch, and food coloring if you want a different color.

How does the liquid make it possible to walk across its surface? When non-Newtonian fluids interact with pressure, their viscosities change. Most common things don’t have that trait, including milk, water, juice, or oil.

If you apply more pressure to oobleck, you’ll get a stronger result. That means it becomes compact, making it feel like you’re walking on top of solid Jell-O instead of a pool of water. When you tap the surface hard and fast, the oobleck feels the same way because you’re forcing the cornstarch particles together.


Or cycling on it

Bicycle on Oobleck
Bicycle on Oobleck

Or even run:

Running on Water with Oobleck

Inspiration for the Creation of Oobleck

Why does oobleck have such a funny name? It actually comes from a Dr. Seuss book called “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.”

Theodor Geisel wrote the story in 1949 to tell the tale of a young boy named Bartholomew Cubbins. He must rescue his kingdom from this sticky green substance that we get to know is called “oobleck.”

Geisel said that he drew inspiration from the book after overhearing a conversation during World War II when he was stationed in Belgium. One of his fellow soldiers commented on the rain, wondering if they could have something different for a change.

Cubbins sees a strange green substance falling from the sky. The king, who is tired of it always raining, declares a public holiday. He tells Bartholomew to talk to the Royal Bell Ringer about announcing the occasion. When they try to ring the bell, the oobleck is too thick to let it happen.

They try to sound the alarm with the trumpeter, but the sticky fluid gets into the instrument. They try to warn the kingdom, but even the horses cannot run from the stuff. Eventually, Bartholomew reprimands the king, telling him that apologizing is better than using magic words.

In an instant, the storm abates. The sunshine comes out to melt away the green slimy substance. The story ends with the king declaring a holiday for all of the other weather that came their way before the oobleck.

In the below video, oobleck is punched over and over, and a slow-motion camera is used so that you can easily see how the substance behaves.


How to Create Your Own Oobleck at Home

If you’re interested in creating some oobleck at home, whether using it as slime or for something a little bigger, you’ll have this recipe to follow.

What Do I Need to Create Oobleck?

  • 1 cup of water
  • Up to 2 cups of cornstarch
  • A mixing bowl
  • Green food coloring

If you want to make a lot of oobleck today, just keep the ratio the same. If you have four cups of water, you’d want to have up to eight cups of cornstarch available to use to create this sticky, hard slime.

How to Prepare Your Oobleck

When you’re ready to start making the oobleck, you’ll start by pouring one cup of cornstarch into your mixing bowl. You’ll notice how fine that powder is right away, especially if you get some of the particles on your hands or clothing.

Next, you’ll want to pour in the water, mixing the two ingredients slowly as the liquid comes into contact with the powder. It will help if you keep adding liquid to the mixture until it becomes thick.

It should harden when you tap on it.

If your mixture gets too runny, you can always add more cornstarch to the mixing bowl. When everything gets too thick, a little extra water should do the trick to get your oobleck at the right consistency.

Now you can add the green food coloring if you want to enjoy the oobleck in the same way that Bartholomew Cubbins did in the Dr. Seuess story.

Oobleck is non-toxic, but you don’t want to get this stuff in your eyes. It also helps to wash your hands after handling the substance.

These People Are Walking On Water:

How to Use Your New Oobleck at Home

Once you have your oobleck in the right color and consistency, it’s time to start experimenting with this fun substance! You’ll want to roll up your sleeves to avoid having the materials stain, and any jewelry should get removed from your hands before playing with the stuff.

Try to hold a handful of the oobleck in your hands. What happens to the substance when you take that action?

When you squeeze your hand into a fist, how does the non-Newtonian fluid behave differently? Can you move your fingers through the mixture slowly, and what happens if you try to speed things up?

If you want to try walking on it, you’ll need to multiply the recipe by at least ten. After taking off your shoes and socks, try running across the material to see what happens!

Maybe you can join the ranks of people who have walked on water after trying this activity! It might not be the Mediterranean Sea, but we all need to start somewhere!



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