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How to Make Quicksand

Suganya Sukumar Aug 27, 2020
Making quicksand at home is a simple thing and is fun to experiment with. If you are interested in making it for your project, read this piece.
Quicksand appears like a semi-solid mixture, which can be seen anywhere in the deserts or forests. The movements caused by the person who is drowning into it, will worsen his situation, by making him drown quicker.
If the person doesn't make movements, his body can float, because, the density of the human body is lesser than its density. High density is its important property.
Quicksand is just the ordinary sand that is present near the underground water source, due to which it gets over-saturated with water. Due to the presence of water molecules between the soil particles, the frictional force between the soil particles gets reduced, and the object that falls into it, gets immersed.
Quicksand, mostly appears to be solid, but when stress is applied up on it, its viscosity would decrease. It has the properties of non-Newtonian fluid, because its properties changes, not due to shear differences but stress difference. The areas which have high volume fraction, its viscosity increases suddenly.

Instructions for Making Quicksand at Home

It can be made at home either using sand or other ingredients like cornstarch.

Method 1

What you need
  • Sand
  • Bucket
  • hose
  • Rock
  • Water
What to Do
  • Make a hole in the bottom of the bucket and place the nozzle of the hose in the hole.
  • Take a bucket and fill it with sand and place a rock on the top of the sand.
  • Turn on the hose and allow the water to slowly fill the bucket, until the ordinary sand becomes quicksand.
  • Turn off the hose after the sand is converted into quicksand.

Method 2

What you need
  • 2 cups of dry starch
  • 1 cup of water
  • Newspaper
  • Mixing bowl
  • Plastic wrap (Optional)
  • Jar with tight lid (Optional)
What to Do
  • Place the newspaper on a table or any flat surface and take a bowl and put cornstarch in it.
  • Set the mixing bowl containing the cornstarch on the newspaper sheet.
  • You can also add some coloring agents to the cornstarch.
  • Add some water into the bowl and mix it thoroughly using your hands.
  • When you feel that the mixture is a liquid while mixing and a solid when tapping or pressing on it, stop mixing water to the cornstarch.
  • After adding the right amount of water in the cornstarch, stir it slowly, so that the water molecules mix with the cornstarch molecules properly.
  • The quicksand which you have prepared will dry out when kept open in air. So to avoid this, you can put the mixture in a jar and tightly close its lid or cover the bowl with a plastic wrap.

Tips and Caution

  • After experimenting with the quicksand, pack the mixture and throw it away.
  • Don't drain the mixture in the sink of your house.
  • Avoid doing the experiment in a big container.
  • Of course, do the experiment under the supervision of an adult.
Many of us assume that, it completely sucks in any object that falls into it. But it is actually a misconception. Due to its high density, it is impossible that a human or an animal would completely immerse into it.
It is also possible to get out of the quicksand safely, using some simple, but effective techniques. Indeed, more than the sinkable danger, dehydration, intense solar radiations, tides etc., can be more dangerous to the person who is trapped inside the quicksand.