In this episode of Science with Shields we explore the unique properties of soap!

What you need: 

  1. Ivory Soap
  2. Other types of soap
  3. Water
  4. Bowl
  5. Plate
  6. knife
  7. Microwave


First, we will play a game of will it sink or will it float. Stick your bar of Ivory soap into the water. Does it sink or float? Take it out of the water, and now stick another type of bar of soap in the water. Does that sink or float? Next, carefully have a parent or guardian cut the Ivory soap into four pieces onto a plate. Look and observe the texture of the soap. Once it is cut, stick the Ivory soap into the microwave for about a minute. Some high-powered microwaves may take less time. Take it out of the microwave and check out what happened! Wait for the soap to cool for a minute and then you can mold it and see how it feels.


Notice how the ivory soap floats, but the other bar of soap sinks. This is because ivory soap has air bubbles in it that makes it less dense than the water, and keeps it afloat. These air bubbles also create the fluffy but rugged soap explosion after putting the ivory soap in the microwave. What happens is the air bubbles in the soap contain some water molecules. When the microwave heats the soap, the air bubbles with the water molecules expand. This heat also helps to make the soap moldable once out of the microwave.