Science fair project ideas that involve glowing water

Written by anna roberts
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Science fair project ideas that involve glowing water
You can make glowing water using the ink from a highlighter pen and tonic water. (Getty Images)

Showing off a glowing science project is an eye-catching choice, and there are some very interesting projects that involve glowing water. For these projects, you not only want to document your entire experiment in writing, but you'll also want to take photos or video to capture the glowing results for your poster or presentation.

How it works

"Black lights" (or UV-A lights) emit mostly ultraviolet light and very little visible light. Materials that fluoresce contain phosphors, which absorb radiation from the black light and re-emit visible light, making the fluorescent substance or object appear to glow in the dark to the human eye.

Glowing water

To conduct a science experiment with coloured, glowing water, gather a variety of highlighters, tonic water, a black light, a light meter and some clear plastic cups. Cut open the highlighters and mix the different-coloured inks into individual cups of tonic water. Turn out the lights and use the light meter to test each cup of glowing water. Determine which colours and which brands or types of highlighters produce the strongest glow.

Glowing flowers

Use glowing water to create glowing flowers in this experiment. Make a few containers of glowing water by opening highlighters and squeezing the ink into individual cups of water. Put a flower in each cup of water, leave it overnight to draw up the dye in the water then shine a black light on the flower to see it glow. Try the experiment with different colours of highlighters and different types of flowers to observe the effects.

Glowing geyser

This is an exciting experiment that makes a mess so do it somewhere that can get wet and messy. Open a new, 2-litre (2.1 quart), room temperature bottle of tonic water. Unwrap a roll of Mentos and place them into a rolled-up piece of paper or a cardboard tube so that you can quickly slide all of them into the tonic bottle at once. Darken the room or perform the experiment outside at night with a black light. Let the Mentos drop into the bottle and watch the glowing tonic water erupt out the top. Try the experiment with other types of sweets or mints to see if you get the same results. Use a battery-powered black light or place the light where it won't get wet.

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