How To: Make Non-Newtonian Fluid (& Experiment with it!)

Picture of How To: Make Non-Newtonian Fluid (& Experiment with it!)
This instructable will show you how to make a simple non-Newtonian fluid out of corn starch and water.

Our matter will turn into a solid when pressure is exerted on it, and will turn into a liquid when little or no pressure is exerted on it.

"It's not that this fluid doesn't have a well defined viscosity (because we can mathematically define the fluid viscosity) -- it's that this fluid's viscosity is defined as a function of the rate of shear - that is, the fluid acts more viscous as you increase shear - a dilatant fluid"

Materials needed for this experiment:
~Corn Starch (About as much water as you are using)
~Stirring rod (or anything to stir with)

Step 1: Mix it!

Picture of Mix it!
Put water in a big bowl/container you adding corn starch until the water becomes extremely tough to stir. It has also been described as a syrupy texture, but you should be able to feel a difference. If you are not sure, you can test it by applying pressure with the poke of your finger or a spoon. You will feel and initial resistance by the fluid and then it will slowly release.

Step 2: The Fluid Itself

Picture of The Fluid Itself
You will notice if you leave the fluid unattended for a spell, it will separate into two parts and solid will be on the bottom of the container. Simply mix it up once again to regain the non-Newtonian fluid texture.

As you poke and prod at the mixture, you can see and feel (if you use your hands) the mixture turning solid into liquid or vice versa. Get hands on! The texture is great to feel and will keep you occupied for hours on end!

After messing around for a bit, add more corn starch. This results in a more solidified liquid and you can better feel the reactions.

Watch the attached video for a moving preview of the non-Newtonian fluid!

Step 3: Experimenting: Heat

Picture of Experimenting: Heat
The first additional experiment that was tested was by microwaving part of the fluid. I put it in the microwave for roughly 45 seconds on half power (5, in my case). This resulted in what looked like an egg-shaped object, with a yellow center and a white outer ring.

Watch the attached video for the microwaving and examination of this.

Step 4: Experimenting: Ice (Version 1)

Picture of Experimenting: Ice (Version 1)
In this experiment, I put a cup of the non-Newtonian fluid into a freezer to see the effects. After leaving it in there, it was examined later. It had some cool line patterns on the surface like it was exerting tension or something of the like.

Step 5: Experimenting: Ice (Version 2)

Picture of Experimenting: Ice (Version 2)
In this experiment, a cup of non-Newtonian fluid was put in an ice bath to see the effects it would have on the solution.

The solution because more solidified and would crack and break apart instead of turning back into a liquid. Kind of obvious, but fun nonetheless.

So, now it's time for you to start experimenting! Post any other experiments you do here.

Step 6: Your Experiments

ThatHippyMan writes::
"After playing with my mixture a while, I started adding alot more water then immediatly microwaving it. Its almost like ballistics jel now."

Magnelectrostatic writes:
"blow bubles in it with a straw! they aren't normal"

odiekokee recounts an experience with the substance:
"This stuff started me down a VERY interesting road of research in my youth (yes, I was a VERY wierd kid)

Shear thickening fluid (ooblec, whatever, same mixture as above). I played with it for days.....Among the bright ideas I had, was to jam my finger down into a bowlful of it as hard as i could manage....and it set up like concrete. Next, same thing, with a sharp pencil.....and again, just like I'd hit gooey granite. *DING* light bulb, and to the closet I went. Out comes a rifle. .22 rim-fire first. Filled one of my mothers 5� square "sandwich keeper" type Tupperware bowls with the stuff, lid on tight, and set it up on its side, lid facing me....BLAM....but it didn't blow the lid off with a big splash like every other liquid target I'd tested. in fact, it appeared that the bullet went less than a half inch in. Repeated with .223 (MUCH faster moving projectile) and a little thicker box of �stuff�......same thing....stopped like it'd hit a solid object.

Now....the military has developed several similar technologies. How Stuff Works: Liquid Body Armor shows some of that developing technology. I'm sure it's been in the works for a while, but 15 years ago, I like to think I quietly started on that kind of thing (but who listens to a 13 year old)
*DISCLAIMER* Don't do ballistics tests unless you’re very well trained with the equipment needed and VERY careful in the setup of your tests. (Safety first, last, always, and through a very long life)"

Farbs weighs in with his own experiment:
"try zapping it as a liquid. I will when I make it, and ill post what happened, but if someone gets there first, reply to this comment."
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JamesT223 months ago

i r8 8/8 m8 pls no ha8 thanks m8

ErhanD10 months ago

Where can I buy non-Newtonian. Please help me. I waiting your answer.

MeMoTie. ErhanD4 months ago

just mix corn powder/starch with water.

45710837935 months ago

this is cool

ErhanD10 months ago

Where can I buy non-Newtonian. Please help me. I waiting your answer.

just use corn starch or corn flour and mix it with water

ErhanD10 months ago

Where can I buy non-Newtonian. Please help me. I waiting your answer.

Awesome! I'm putting this inside backs and between cardboard layers for armor. Airsoft and paintball proof!
I covered my chest in this and then shot myself with a pistol, it TOTALLY stopped the bullet and I fully recommend trying this at home.

your insane man!

I've made this stuff before. I threw it at my friend and gave him a black eye. He still is mad at me.
torie_brook3 years ago
if you put the stuff on a speaker, covered by plastic wrap, and turn up the bass it jumps with the music.
what use dose this have?
technick29 (author)  23mcharlotte7 years ago
Any use that you can think of.
Put it in a squirt gun!
Throw it at people!
Put it in a potato and shoot it out of a potato gun!
If this stuff can harden enough to stop a bullet, this could be used in bulletproofing.
That is one of the ideas, because it is easy to manuvure, but can become hard.
They've actually found that this property is shown in a suspension of silicon beads (nanosized) in (poly)ethylene glycol. Kevlar soaked in this is more resistant to bullets and 4 layers of soaked kevlar performs as well as 14 layers of normal kevlar.
So 14 layers of kevlar would be... *does math* 49 layers of KEVLAR! Jeeze. That would probably stop a bullet.
Mythbusters tried it, didn't work :(
Fortunately for law-enforcement (and unfortunately for Adam and Jaimie), a single data-point doesn't really prove anything. There's already a good bit of testing and exploring of non-Newtonian fluids for armor, so yeah, it's on its way!
technick29 (author)  dudemonkeys7 years ago
WPee5 years ago

Consider making a Non-Newtonian Fluid "Cloud" over parts of earth to BULLET STOP incoming meteors (and aliens) as they speed toward us.

Kinda of a KLINGON anti-matter force field....SHIELDS UP !!!


ROFL that would be great!...if it were possible
BERGERMAN475 years ago
hi i zapped some in the microwave and it went hard kinda turned into a substance a lot like plain corn flour.
i forgot to mention this was straight after it had been in the fridge for a few hours
sorry for triple post everyone but i just found that adding more water, quite a bit actually, turns it back to normal.
nanoz3005 years ago
Lone6 years ago
Thanks a lot guys!!!! MY project went smoothly with the help of u guys.
hock3ydud37 years ago
didnt the myth busters do something like this, only like a life size scale? or maybe that was quick sand, but i think they did something like this too
no, they haven't, i have seen all of the episodes
Obviously not, they've done this, and quick-sand experiment...
yeah, i saw that episode like a couple days after i posted this, excuse my ignorance
yea, they have, he was trying to walk on water, then they did thi sagian trying to stop a bullet, but he put it in little baggies, so it didnt work.
technick29 (author)  hock3ydud37 years ago
I'm not sure... probably though, Mythbusters does a lot of cool stuff!
I made it and if you you cover it with sand it looks like all sand untill you tell your eney to put there finger in it!lol
farbs7 years ago
by the way, in the experimenting: ice, im pretty sure the lines are just from the nnf not freezing like a lower viscosity liquid would. liquids freeze from the surface they are contained in to the center of them, because solids cool faster than liquids. solids shrink when cooled to an extreme degree, while liquids expand. (note: gases can be frozen at temperatures close to absolute zero, theoretically) so your nnf could do something in between and leave air under cracks in the surface of it. try putting the nnf in a measuring cup and measure the difference before and after.
farbs7 years ago
try zapping it as a liquid. I will when I make it, and ill post what happened, but if someone gets there first, reply to this comment.
technick29 (author)  farbs7 years ago
PS: Can I add this to the "Your Experiments" step?
sure! go ahead.
im still having trouble getting corn starch, only because i havent had time to go to foodtown. =]
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