Make magic right in your kitchen with this easy black pepper and water science experiment. All you need are 4 simple items to get started—black pepper, water, dish soap and a GoodCook Pie Plate. Whether you’re performing the magic or letting your kids take over, try this easy and fun black pepper magic trick today!
The Black Pepper Magic Trick is a science experiment and magic trick rolled into one. Kids will learn about the surface tension of water as they watch pepper flakes magically move. Find out how to perform this easy science experiment below.
Materials needed for the black pepper magic trick
- black pepper
- dish soap
- GoodCook Pie Plate
Magic black pepper trick steps
- Fill a GoodCook Pie Plate ¾ full with water.
- Shake pepper onto the water’s surface, adding enough to cover the surface.
- Dip your finger into the pepper and water (Not much will happen).
- Squeeze a drop of dishwashing liquid on the tip of your finger and dip it into the pepper and water mixture.
- The pepper will quickly move to the outer edges of the dish.
How the Trick Works
- Water naturally has a high surface tension. Water molecules on the surface are pulled together by strong hydrogen bonds, and the surface is actually slightly curved like a water droplet.
- When you add detergent to the water, the water molecules move away from the soap, lowering the surface tension.
- The pepper moves with the water molecules, running away from the center of the plate as if by magic.
More experimenting with surface tension and detergent
Pour the water and pepper out of the GoodCook Pie Plate. Add fresh water and mix in dish soap. Sprinkle pepper on top. The pepper will sink to the bottom of the plate because the surface tension of the water is too low to hold up the pepper particles.
The high surface tension of water is why water spiders and some insects can “walk” on water. If you were to add a drop of detergent to the water, the surface tension of the water would be lowered and the insects would sink!
Try & Tag
If you try this at home, we’d love to see a photo of it! Snap a picture and upload to Instagram. Don’t forget to tag us @goodcook.com #goodcookcoolkitchen