Oil And Water Experiment

oil and water experiment

Oil And Water Experiment

An optical illusion, this oil and water experiment will leave your kids believing their favorite candy has magic properties. In reality, this fun experiment is all about perspective.

What You Will Need

– licorice, a candy cane, or other long, straight candy
– tall, clear drinking glass
– small amount of cooking oil

What You Will Do

Fill the drinking glass partway up with cooking oil and fill the rest with water. Next put the candy into the glass. Now look at the licorice from all angles. Where it meets with the oil it should look like it’s been cut in half.

Lean the candy against the side of the glass and slowly turn it. The licorice should appear to get wider and narrower, sometimes even disappearing completely!

What is Going On?

Light bends in water, making objects in water look distorted and bent out of shape. Anyone familiar with glass fish bowls knows this to be true! Oil has the ability to bend light even more than water, to the point where at certain angles a piece of candy can seem to completely disappear! Check out this video here to see it working.


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Oliver Gauss
Oliver has a degree in physics and mathematics and has completed all but his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Physics. He believes actual science should decide scientific disagreements, and that most people who use "science" to defend their emotion-based opinions have no idea what science actually is. Oliver is the editor of WeWantScience.com and has two new sites coming out soon. Stay tuned!