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You Can Pour this Weird Liquid Uphill

We are so used to liquid water that seeing a liquid do anything but flow the way water does is mind-boggling. Take, for example, polyethylene oxide or PEO. PEO is a polymer-based liquid — it’s the same lubricant that coats the leading edge of your shaving razors — but it doesn’t move with discrete molecules like H2O does. It flows in long chains that tug on each other. These chains mean that if even a bit of PEO is poured out of a beaker, the rest comes with it.

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In the video above, science YouTuber Steve Mould demonstrates this curious property with a purple glop of PEO. It truly is bizarre to watch. The polymer chains that link the fluid together defy gravity, as the mass pouring out of the beaker pulls hard enough on the rest to bring it along.

The British science/quiz show hosted by Stephen Fry, QI, also demonstrated the gooey weirdness that is PEO, this time using mix with added phosphorescent compounds and some black lights:

This isn’t the first time Mould has been fascinated with fluid flow. A few years back, he popularized the “Mould Effect,” where a beaker full of metal beads will self-siphon up, over, and out of a beaker. This video and many like it inspired actual physics papers, so take a look:

What do you think? Impressed by the weirdness? Think this is the stuff they should have used on Double Dare 2000? Let us know in the comments below.

Images: Steve Mould

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