How to Perform the Corn Starch and Speaker Experiment

The cornstarch and speaker experiment is an excellent illustration of non-Newtonian fluids.
••• Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Non-Newtonian fluids exhibit the qualities of both a liquid and a solid. Cornstarch, a thickening agent derived from corn, becomes a non-Newtonian liquid when mixed with water. Several experiments serve to illustrate the strange effects of stress on these types of fluids, among them the cornstarch and speaker cone experiment. Relatively easy to conduct, this experiment illustrates the varying states of cornstarch when irritated by the sound waves produced by a speaker. Simple and fun to observe, this experiment is an ideal activity for science classrooms and may be carried out with very few ingredients.

    Mix the box of cornstarch with 1 cup of water in a bowl. The cornstarch will become difficult to stir, given its properties. Use your fingers to break up any clumps and stir the mixture until it is like syrup in texture.

    Remove the speaker cone from the outer housing on the speaker using the screwdriver. The speaker housing should be held together by a series of simple screws. Once you remove the housing, the interior cone may be lifted from the housing without difficulty. Ensure that the speaker wire is still intact.

    Connect the end of the speaker wire to a 3.5-inch audio adapter, if necessary. Depending on the speaker you’re using, it may already be equipped with a 3.5-inch audio plug.

    Place the speaker cone into a plastic bag to prevent the cone from being damaged. Seal the bag around the cone, ensuring that the connecting wire protrudes from the bag.

    Connect the speaker via the 3.5-inch audio plug or adapter, if any, to the “audio out” socket of your computer or stereo. Turn the computer or stereo on.

    Pour the cornstarch mixture onto the plastic-covered speaker cone so that the mixture rests in the bowl of the speaker cone. Play different songs on the stereo or computer, experimenting with songs with louder bass sounds. The vibrations in the speaker will cause the cornstarch to jump into the air and tremble, forming tendrils and waves in the cornstarch as it changes from solid to liquid and back again.

    Things You'll Need

    • 1 box of cornstarch
    • 1 cup water
    • Bowl
    • Old speaker
    • Computer or stereo
    • 3.5-inch audio adapter cable (optional)
    • Plastic bag
    • Screwdriver

Related Articles

How to Build a Speaker for a Science Project
Experiments With Cornstarch & Water
How to Build an Egg Catapult
How to Make a Model of an Ear for Children
How to Calculate Drum Volume
Sound Wave Experiments for Kids
How to Sterilize Petri Dishes
Experiments on Mechanical Energy for Kids
How to Make Rubber With Corn Starch, Water and Vinegar
How to Make a Burglar Alarm for Kids
Objects That Absorb Sound
Ideas for Second Grade Science Fair
How to Convert Square Feet to Cubic Feet
How to Calculate Volume
Successful Egg Drop Contraptions for a Science Project
How to Reshape Plastic Bottles
How to Make a 3D Volcano for a High School Project
How to Make Electricity Flow Like Lightning Between...
The Best Materials to Build a Roller Coaster for a...