This month, Kent Corporation was a sponsor at the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) festival held in Muscatine, Iowa. A subsidiary company, Grain Processing Corporation, hosted one of approximately 25 booths at the festival, teaching attendees about fluid viscosity and flow behavior. The booth featured an Oobleck pit for attendees to attempt to walk across.
Oobleck is a suspension of starch in water and is a shear-thickening fluid.
It behaves like a fluid if agitated slowly, but sets up almost like a solid if rapidly perturbed. The substance gives the feeling of walking on water, but can also feel like quicksand if one moves too slowly.
The festival was part of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s STEM Advisory Council initiatives to stimulate interest among K-12 students in science and technology, with hopes of developing a strong future workforce. (See the Muscatine Journal article to read more about the STEM festival.)