How can you create a substance which behaves like both a liquid and a solid?

Science teacher Jeanette Dent, from Aire Valley School, Bingley, has shown us how to make a slimy substance which does exactly this.

All you need to conduct this experiment is some cornflour and water.

Put the cornflour in and simply add the water, mixing until you have the consistency of a thick cream. If you put your hand slowly into the mixture it behaves like a liquid, but put your hand in quickly and it acts as a solid.

Mrs Dent said: “This happens because the cornflour is made up of starch particules of less than 0.01mm.

“The particles are attracted to water so the water gets among them very quickly.

“The water acts as a lubricant so when you put your hand in slowly they act as a liquid and when you put your hand in quickly it causes the particules to move slightly causing them to push against each other, acting as a solid.”