Did you know that it is possible to submerge a paper towel in water without getting it wet? While it doesn’t seem possible, it actually is. And all it takes in a little science fun to make it happen!
Watch our included demonstration video, print detailed instructions, and explore the easy to understand explanation of how it works below.
Dry Paper Towel Science Experiment Video
- Large Container
- Enough water to fill the container high enough that you can completely submerge the glass in it
- Paper Towel
Step 1 – Begin by filling a large container full of water. There must be enough water in the container for you to completely submerge the glass.
Step 2 – Next tear off a section of paper towel and stuff it into the bottom of the glass.
Step 3 – Carefully turn the glass upside down.
Helpful tip: Make sure the paper towel stays at the bottom of the glass. If it slips down, push it back in.
Step 4 – Carefully lower the glass into straight down into the water. Ensure that the glass does not tip to the side. Lower the glass until it is completely submerged.
Step 5 – Pull the glass straight out of the water. Ensure that the glass does not tip to the side. Then carefully remove the paper towel from the glass.
Step 6 – Once you remove the paper towel you will find that it is still dry even though you just submerged it in water.
How Does the Experiment Work?
Even though you can’t see it, air is made up of matter. Because air is made of matter it has mass and volume. Because air has volume it takes up space. This experiment shows the air’s volume!
When the glass is lowered in the water, air is trapped inside of the glass because of the water pushing up from below. Air is less dense than water so it is able to stay on top of the water. The paper towel will not get wet as long as the air stays in the glass. If you tip the glass (even slightly), the air trapped in the glass will rush out in the form of bubbles. Water will then rush in and the paper towel will get wet.
Even More Science Fun
Dry the experiment again, but this time slightly tilt the glass to the side as you lower it into the water. What happens? Do you see a bubble rise to the top of the water? What do you think happened? And is the paper towel still dry or did it get wet?
If you enjoyed this experiment, you may also like these experiments with Water:
- Can Water Bend a Straw? Science Experiment
- Make Water Glow Science Experiment
- How Different Liquids Impact Magnetic Force
I hope you enjoyed the experiment. Here are some printable instructions: