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I designed an experiment investigating the effects of temperature on viscosity of honey. My experiment doesnt seem to work and I need help to modify it. My method is:
Method: 1) Put 5 ml of honey into 4 separate beakers.
2) Make sure the temperature of honey in all four beakers is different by using hot water bath to get it to a higher temperature and ice bath to lower the temperature.
3) Label each beaker 1, 2, 3 and 4 and measure the temperature of honey in all the beakers.
4) Dip a paper clip in the beaker for five seconds and place it on separate evaporating basin.
5) Use a magnet to pull the paper clip right above the evaporating basin.
6) Using a stop watch, record how long it takes the paper clip to drop onto the evaporating basin.
7) Do the same with beaker 2, 3 and 4.
8) Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 three times to get an average.
I think methods numbers 5 and 6 have problems. The paper clip does get attached to the magnet but it doesnt drop back.
1.- Will you please suggest something?
2.- I was wondering if I should use a magnet of low magnetic strength or if I should use a heavier metal?
3.- Can you please help me and reply as soon as possible?
Question Date: 2005-06-03
Answer 1:

There are some aspects of your experiment that are very well designed.
For example,taking four sets of data (step 8) to get an average, and using hot water or ice baths to achieve different honey temperatures (make sure you leave the honey in contact with the hot water or the ice for long enough, though, to be sure that it has equilibrated to the water temperature!)

I'm not sure what you had in mind with the paperclip though. Paperclips are made of iron, which becomes magnetized in the presence of a magnet; as you point out; this allows you to pick up the paperclip using the magnet. The magnetic interaction between the paperclip and the magnet is unlikely to be affected by the honey (unless you coated the paperclip so thickly that the magnet couldn't reach it, in which case you'd struggle to pick it up in the first place). So this won't be a good measure of the honey's viscosity.

So instead you need to think about something that you can measure, that will change (preferably by a lot) when the viscosity of the honey changes. Remember that things that are less viscous are more "runny". So if you want to stick with your current experimental set-up, you might think about obtaining a measure of how easy it is to move the paperclip through the honey, or how quickly the honey runs off the paperclip...

Good luck with your experiment!

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