Liquid Body Armor

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In this activity, learners explore how nanotechnology is being used to create new types of protective fabrics. Learners play with samples of “Oobleck," a polymer (a long chain of molecules) made of corn starch, food coloring, and water. Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid and therefore acts like both a liquid and a solid. Through this activity, learners discover that scientists and engineers are designing new materials to recreate this phenomenon in flexible fabrics.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 3 Boxes of Cornstarch
  • 3 Containers
  • Food Coloring
  • Spaghetti
  • Water
  • 3 Quart‐sized Bags
  • Real eggs
  • Mallet
  • Step stool (optional)
  • Magnet
  • Metal BB’s or washers
  • Pie Tin
  • D30 Hat
  • Eggs (optional)
  • Plastic Bags (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0532536
  • National Science Foundation, 0940143