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Bill Nye: Eggs-speriment

Bill Nye: Eggs-speriment

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Author: Bill Nye

This tutorial from Bill Nye explains that the density of salt water makes it easier for objects and creatures to float in it using a simple experiment with eggs.

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The oceans have always been salty, although most lakes and ponds are not salty. Do things float the same way in a lake or on the ocean?

What You Need:

1. two fresh raw eggs
2. two drinking glasses
3. tap water
4. table salt
5. a small scale, like a postal rate scale

What You Do:

1. Fill one glass with tap water.
2. Fill the other glass with the exact same amount of tap water and add five heaping tablespoons of salt. Mix well.
3. Carefully crack open an egg and gently set it on the surface of the tap water. What happens to the egg?
4. Now set the other egg on the salty water. Does the egg do the same thing?
5. Weigh the two glasses, and compare them. Which weighs more? If you suspect that your eggs don’t weigh the same, try it again and weigh the water-filled glasses ahead of time.

What’s Happening?

The egg sinks in freshwater, but floats in salt water.

If you have the same amount of each, salt water weighs more than fresh water. There is more “stuff” in salt water than in the same amount of fresh water. We say salt water is denser than fresh water. The denser salt water can hold up the weight of an egg. But the fresh water doesn’t have enough “stuff” in it to support the same weight. Things float better in salt water than in fresh water because salt makes water heavier.


Here's the same Home Demo in convenient PDF form!

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Questions and Answers

  • Answers 0
    Cole Murski about 1 year ago

    Its a really good experiment and i just happened to be looking for density labs.I think its Egg-cellent! :) CAN YOU PLEASE MAKE MORE?!

  • Answers 0
    Rusty Sturken over 2 years ago

    This is a great experiment to demonstrate density. I have demonstrated it to my classes with whole eggs (still in the shell), it tends to be easier (less messy) and still provides a good visual demonstration. The Nye Labs.com PDF file looks like it has information from a different lab in the "What's happening?" section but it is correct in the top section of this tutorial. Thanks for the idea.

  • Answers 0
    Anthony Varela over 2 years ago

    I heard that you can tell if an egg is spoiled by tossing it in tapwater and seeing if it floats. As you noted, the egg should sink in tapwater. So if it floats in tapwater, it's no good to eat. What's the reason behind this? I think it has to do with the spoiled egg being more gaseous, but I'm not 100% sure.

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