MadSci Network: Other

Re: Why do wet sponges soak up more water than dry sponges?

Date: Sun Nov 5 18:01:40 2000
Posted By: Paul Barrett, Staff, Science Demonstrator, Pacific Science Center
Area of science: Other
ID: 972919633.Ot

What a great question, Jaimie!
      There are a couple reasons why wet sponges soak up more 
water than dry sponges.  The first one has to do with the sponge.  It's 
made with tons of tiny holes.  When the sponge is dry and water  
flows into it, a lot of the water escapes through these holes.  As the 
sponge gets more wet, it swells from all the water it is taking in, and 
a lot of those holes get filled up, so not as much water can escape.
      The second reason has to do with water itself.  Water is very sticky 
stuff, that's why you have to dry your hands after  you wash  them, 
because there's still water sticking to them.  Water molecules stick 
especially well to other water molecules, because  they're highly 
attracted to one another.  This means that if a sponge is already wet,  
the water in the sponge will grab hold of the water being poured into 
it, so the sponge absorbs more water.
        Another interesting thing about sponges is that different kinds of 
sponges absorb different amounts of water.  For more info on this, 
check out this website:

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