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The Floating Paper Clips Experiment


The aim of this science fair project is to float a paper clip on water.

Materials Required:

  1. A bowl of water
  2. Tissue paper of size 8cm x 8cm (or any similar size)
  3. A pencil or pen with a flat end.
  4. A dry paper clip


  1. Fill the bowl with water till it is full
  2. Try floating the paper clip, surely it will sink.
  3. Take the tissue paper and float it on the water.
  4. Now carefully place the paper clip on the tissue paper.
  5. Now without touching the paper clip sink the tissue paper with the flat edge of the pencil or pen.
  6. You will see that the paper clip is floating.

Note: It may take several tries to sink the tissue paper and float the paper clip. Try not to disturb the bowl anyway.

How does this happen?

The paper clip floats because of a phenomenon called surface tension. Surface tension creates a sort of skin over the water surface. This ‘skin’ of water will hold your paper clip. But as the force of surface tension is very weak the ‘skin’ can break at the slight disturbance.

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