AMASE: Buoyancy

Posted on Friday, August 13th, 2021


Dr. Joanne O'Meara and junior scientist Mara are looking at buoyancy, in all it's forms. 

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Make your own Buoyancy Beads Bottle

Materials Needed

  1. a clean/empty clear plastic bottle and cap (500 mL to 1 L works well)
  2. distilled water (available at grocery stores, Walmart, etc.) – enough to fill a little less than half the volume of the bottle you are using
  3. coarse salt/pickling salt
  4. isopropyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol (90% purity or higher) – enough to fill a little less than half the volume of the bottle you are using
  5. 50 to 100 Perler beads (available at craft stores, Walmart, etc.)
  6. 50 to 100 Pony beads (available at craft stores, Walmart, etc.)


  1. Use some of the distilled water to rinse out the bottle to make sure it’s clean.
  2. Mix the distilled water and coarse salt together, stirring to get all of the salt dissolved. You will need about 8 teaspoons of salt for every 250 mL of distilled water. Add the saltwater mixture to your bottle.
  3. Pour in an equal volume of 90+% isopropyl alcohol. It looks cloudy at first but that’s ok! Put the cap on and mix the contents then set it down to rest. You will see the two solutions separate as it settles.
  4. Open the lid and add the Pony beads. They will settle at the boundary between the two liquids. Now add the smaller Perler beads for approximately equal layers of each type.
  5. HAVE FUN!!!!

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