Colorful Lather Printing

In this Activity, students marble paper with shaving cream and food color while exploring water, polarity, and hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials. Although the Activity is familiar, it contains a new twist—exploring how a colored shaving cream mixture behaves when a drop of water is added. This Activity can be used to introduce the concepts of polarity, soaps, and surfactants. The composition of shaving cream lends itself to a discussion of types of phases, mixtures, and in particular, a discussion of foams as colloids. The careers of consumer product chemists and the chemistry of other consumer products may also be relevant. Paper marbling is an ancient art, so the Activity can be integrated with art or history lessons.


Susan A. S. Hershberger, Matt Nance, Arlyne M. Sarquis, Lynn M. Hogue, J. Chem. Educ. 2007, 84, p608A.

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