Anti-Gravity Water Science Magic Trick

water droplets
Water has an extremely high surface tension. Under the right conditions, it sticks to itself more strongly than gravity acts to pull it down. Anurag Das / EyeEm / Getty Images

Amaze your friends with this simple science magic trick that turns ordinary water into anti-gravity water.

Materials for the Water Trick

  • Water glass with a round rim (wine glass or typical water glass)
  • T-shirt
  • Water

Basically, all you need is water, a glass, and a cloth. A T-shirt is easy to find. Other excellent choices for the fabric would be a handkerchief, square of silk, or men's dress shirt. Choose a fabric with a tight weave or knit.

Perform the Anti-Gravity Water Trick

  1. Place the cloth over the glass.
  2. Use your hand to push a depression into the fabric. This is so you can more easily fill the glass and also helps wet the material.
  3. Fill the glass about three-quarters full of water.
  4. Pull the fabric tightly over the glass.
  5. You have two choices here. You can quickly flip the glass, using a hand to hold the fabric tight. Alternatively, you can put one hand over the top of the glass, while using the other to hold the material tight over the glass and slowly invert the glass. Pull the hand over the glass away.
  6. The water doesn't pour out!

How It Works

Water has a high surface tension. In this trick, the water molecules absorbed into the fabric hold onto other water molecules inside the water glass. Even though there are gaps in the fabric, the attraction between water molecules overcomes the force of gravity trying to pull the water down.

What do you think would happen if you lowered the surface tension of the water by using a glass that had a residue of detergent on it? What if you tried the trick with another liquid? Chances are good the surface tension of the water would be lowered enough that you'd get wet!

Another fun trick that works on the same principle is Magic Colored Milk.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Anti-Gravity Water Science Magic Trick." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2023, April 5). Anti-Gravity Water Science Magic Trick. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Anti-Gravity Water Science Magic Trick." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).