Baby powder, it is a distinctive smell that most people will know anywhere. But did you know baby powder also has some fascinating science applications? In fact, you can use baby powder to make a brilliant batch of oobleck.
An Oobleck Recipe Investigation
This activity is part of a series we did exploring how various ingredients worked in the creation of oobleck. We tested Cornstarch, Baby Powder, Tapioca Flour, Arrowroot Flour, Baking Soda and Potato. The results were surprising and resulted in a fantastic Oobleck Science Fair Project.
The Story of Baby Powder
Baby powder has a fascinating history. It first came on the market in the late 1800’s. The main ingredient was Talc (or Talcum Powder) which was the powder form of a mineral rich in magnesium. For many decades the product was the same and a staple in many households. However in recent decades some concerns have come forward about a possible link to cancer. Now many baby powders use cornstarch instead in their recipes.
And we all know what cornstarch is great for… making oobleck! Oh and I guess gravies and soups too.
Our baby powder that we used for this experiment was 100% cornstarch with no talc in it at all. I don’t know how results may vary if you use a baby powder with talc. Our baby powder had other ingredients too, including aloe, fragrance and vitamin E.
Making Oobleck with Baby Powder
When we set out to make oobleck with baby powder I wasn’t sure how the added ingredients would affect our recipe, but it turns out it didn’t affect it at all. We used our standard 2 cups of baby powder and 1 cup of water and it turned into a perfect non-Newtonian Fluid.
It had all the normal properties of our regular oobleck and behaved exactly like our regular cornstarch recipe.
Check Out Our Video Making Oobleck With Baby Powder
The Downsides of Using Baby Powder To Make Oobleck
So there were a couple of things we really didn’t like about making oobleck with baby powder.
First, the stuff loves to get airborne. It was such a mess and we ended up inhaling a lot of baby powder. Making oobleck is normally a lot of fun, but that took a lot of the fun out of it for us.
Second, this could be a plus to some people but for us was a huge negative. The smell. Baby powder in small quantities has an okay smell, but when you whip up a batch of oobleck using 2 cups of the stuff the smell is a little overwhelming.
Does Baby Powder Make A Good Oobleck
Can you use baby powder to make oobleck? Absolutely! But I wouldn’t recommend buying baby powder to make oobleck, just buy straight corn starch. It is cheaper, easier to work with and will give you the same result.