Is Oobleck a Solid or A Liquid?

Ever heard of a non-Newtonian fluid before? If you haven’t, that’s fine, lots of people can’t identify a non-Newtonian fluid even if it fell directly from the sky. 

Oobleck is a suspension, which means that it tends to resemble the properties of a solid or a liquid. This is what describes a non-Newtonian fluid. 

So, if you’re wondering if oobleck is a solid or a liquid, the answer is yes!

I know that sounds ridiculously vague but allow us to break this oobleck being a solid or liquid debate down further for you.

What Is Oobleck Made Of?

Oobleck is made of corn starch and water. Fun fact, this pressure-dependent substance can be made at home. 

The procedure is straightforward. Here’s how to get it done:

Things you’ll need:

  • Mixing bowl
  • A cup of water
  • 1 to 2 cups of cornstarch 
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • What you’ll need to do:
  • Pour one cup of cornstarch into the mixing bowl.
  • Add a cup of water to the cornstarch slowly.
  • Keep adding water till the mixture is thick and feels hard when you touch it.
  • Add more water if the mixture is way too thick.
  • Add more cornstarch I’d the mixture is too watery.

(If you intend to add coloring it, you should do so to the water)

What Is Oobleck Used For?

  1. Teachings in physics.

This is the most obvious usage. In physics classes, oobleck can be used to teach about viscosity and molecules. 

  • Fillings in stress balls.

Some stress ball companies make use of oobleck as filling for the stress balls.

  • Gear damper.

Honda has a license to a gear damper that makes use of oobleck.

  • Potholes.

A currently forgotten patent in the US employed the usage of this mixture in potholes. The application was simple, the suspension would act like a solid when cars derive over the potholes.

Is oobleck a solid or liquid?


Oobleck has the potential to be both a solid and liquid, given the amount of pressure applied to it.

That is what’s so fascinating about this solid/liquid suspension. 

Oobleck takes on a solid form when pressure is applied to it because the cornstarch particles stick together. 

Meanwhile, when oobleck takes on a liquid form when very little or no pressure is applied to it, it then resembles a liquid. 

So, if an is oobleck a solid or liquid debate comes up, your answer should be yes, and yes. 

Can you eat oobleck?

In small quantities, yes. This is not a recommendation to make a bowl of oobleck for your consuming pleasure. 

If you mistakenly ingest a bit of oobleck, you are probably good to go because oobleck doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients that can potentially cause food poisoning.

But there’s a catch still when you eat too much oobleck, you may be at risk of experiencing stomach cramps or stomach upset. 

It may be better to avoid it outrightly.

Can oobleck stop a bullet?

Yes, oobleck hardens when struck by a massive impact. With oobleck, the force of the bullet is absorbed by the suspension and is dispersed through it. 

When the force/impact of a bullet is massive, the bullet may not go through as easily as it would if the force from the bullet was less substantial. 

Although, a shallow amount of oobleck may not exactly stop a bullet from going through. A layer of oobleck that is 7-8cm thick is needed to prevent a bullet from going through the suspension. 

What are the properties of oobleck that are similar to a solid?

The main property that links oobleck to a solid is the fact that when pressure or force is applied to it, the particles tend to vibrate in place and stay in contact with one another to an extent.

This means that when an oobleck is approached with pressure, it has a high tendency of maintaining its ground and only changing its shape slightly.

Read also: Why is my peanut butter watery?

What happens if you freeze oobleck?

Because oobleck is solid and liquid, what it turns into when it’s frozen leaves much to the mind. 

When oobleck is frozen, it becomes completely solid. 

If you’re feeling adventurous and you decide to break the frozen pieces, it may not be very easy at first but you could always wait a while. When you finally break it, you would notice that it is dry. It’ll feel like moldable clay. It still isn’t liquid even after freezing and thawing. 

Read also: Chili Garlic Sauce Vs Sriracha – The Main Difference

Is Oobleck a Non-Newtonian Fluid?

Yes, it sure is. A non-Newtonian fluid is the kind of fluid that doesn’t have typical fluid properties or liquid behavior. Rather it is the kind of fluid that has the potential to assume both solid and liquid properties, depending on the kind of pressure applied to it. This is exactly how oobleck is described.

What exactly makes oobleck a non-Newtonian fluid?

Usually, solids maintain a defined shape while liquids are susceptible to shape change because they flow freely, but oobleck does not follow this idea. This is what makes it a non-Newtonian fluid. 

With oobleck, the more the pressure, the more it solidifies and the lesser the pressure, the more it liquifies. 

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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