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How Many Drops of Water Can a Nickel Hold?

Indoor Free
Science Fair
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Activity Overview

Conduct a simple test to determine how many drops of water can be placed on certain coins before spilling over. Young and budding scientists will enjoy this super easy experiment which explores the magical phenomenon of surface tension. Participants can predict how many drops will fit onto a nickel and compare the result to a quarter and a penny.

The molecules that make up water stick to one another. This cohesiveness gives water its high degree of surface tension. It is water's cohesiveness that allows it to form a rounded bead when a single drop is placed on a flat, nonporous surface. You will be surprised by your findings in this fun boredom buster experiment.

Materials Needed

  • A penny
  • A nickel
  • A quarter
  • A medicine dropper
  • Water

How to Do It

  1. Wash and dry a nickel, penny, and a quarter.
  2. Lay them all on the table. Make a prediction about how many drops of water will fit on each of their surfaces.
  3. Start by putting one drop of water on a nickle. Keep dropping and counting drops to see how many drops will fit into the surface of the nickle.
  4. Keep track of your data.
  5. Next, try it with a quarter and a penny.
  6. Keep adding drops to see how your prediction turns out.
  7. Compare the number of drops the nickel held to the quarter and to the penny.

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