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HOW IS WATER ABSORBED?

Today, we're going to learn about water being absorbed by other materials, such as sponge, blotter paper, and cloth. To make it easier to watch, we'll color the water with food coloring, and we'll use hand lenses. (Hand lenses are really fancy magnifying glasses that scientists use to examine stuff.)

Look through the hand lens at the torn edges of the blotter paper and the cloth. Look closely at the surface of the sponge. Tell what you see. Those tiny little things that
look sort of like splinters are called "fibers." The fibers are easy to see on the torn edges.

Now, we want to make a little puddle of our colored water, and put the edge of the cloth right next to the puddle, so that the edge is a little bit into the puddle. Watch
closely! You can see the colored water going into the fibers!

Water going into the fibers is called "capillary action" by the scientists who like fancy words. This phrase isn't used only to be fancy, though; it describes what is happening. It tells what "absorption" means.

Now do it with the blotter paper, and then do it with the sponge. OOPS! There isn't any more puddle? How did that happen?

 

 
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