Chromatography

Here's what you'll need...
  • A coffee filter
  • Black marker
  • Scissors
  • A cup with water
  • A piece of paper towel

We have another fun and exciting science experiment for any at-home scientist. It's chromatography! When you are finished you will have a fun art and science project.

First you'll need to take your scissors and trim down the coffee filter. You are also going to make a slit in the middle. Then you are going to decorate the filter with your marker. After that push the paper towel through. Finally place the coffee filter on the cup and watch!

What do you see?!

Try experimenting with this! What happens if you use a different color like purple? What happens if you use a different type like a wet erase marker? Does anything change?

Alright so what is happening? Chromatography is the science of seperating chemicals in a solvent. In this chromatography experiment the different colors are our chemicals and the water is our solvent.

Water molecules are actually very sticky and they like to stick together, scientist call this cohesion. They are also sticking to the paper towel, scientist call this adhesion. The sticky water molecules are travelling up the paper towel and spreading out through the coffee filter. Once it touches the marker the ink is spread out into all the different colors that make it up.