Soap Powered Boat Experiment

Wow your friends with a Fun Science soap powered boat! Power your own mini boat just using ordinary washing up liquid in this fun and easy experiment!

You will need:

    • Cardboard
    • Scissors
    • Washing Up Liquid
    • A tray or bowl filled with water
    • A toothpick
fun science Soap powered boat ScienceBob

Image from ScienceBob.com

Method:

  • Cut out your boat from the cardboard in the shape as shown on right (about 2 inches long).
  • Decorate your boat if you want to, how about making a little flag using a toothpick and paper?
  • Dip the toothpick in the washing up liquid and dab it on the sides of the¬†little triangle at the back of the boat
  • Put the boat on the water and watch it sail along on on its own!
  • Why not make more than one boat and have a fleet!

Note: To repeat the experiment you will need to replace the water in the tray to remove any traces of washing up liquid.

The Science Bit:

The washing up liquid (specifically the soap in it) acts as a ‘surfactant’. This means that it breaks up the surface tension of the water,

fun science soap powered boat from sciencebob

Image from ScienceBob

creating force that pushes the boat along the water.

Extra things to try:

Does it work better with different soap? How about hand soap or even shower gel?

Does it work differently if you change the temperature of the water?

Could you try making the boat out of different materials?

Thanks to ScienceBob for this experiment