Online College Courses for Credit

Bill Nye: Hole-y Water

Bill Nye: Hole-y Water

Author: Bill Nye

This tutorial from Bill Nye uses an experiment with water and sugar to show how matter is mostly empty space.

See More

Hole-y Water


Everything around us is made of atoms and molecules. Surprisingly, atoms and molecules are made up mostly of empty space.

Here’s a simple experiment to prove that a glass of water molecules contains a whole lot of nothing. Well, a lot of space.

What You Need:

1. powdered sugar

2. a cup of hot water

3. a teaspoon

What You Do:

1. Fill the cup to the brim with hot tap water. Get the surface to bulge above the rim.

2. Without dipping the teaspoon in the water, CAREFULLY add a teaspoon of sugar to the water.
3. Repeat several times.

What’s Happening?

The sugar molecules dissolve and fit into the empty spaces between the water molecules. That’s why the water in the cup doesn’t spill out. Matter is overflowing with empty space.


Hole-y Water

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