Mental Floss

This Sand Hates Water!

Chris Higgins

If you take regular sand and expose it to trimethylsilanol vapor (ahem, (CH3)3SiOH for the chemists in the crowd), the sand becomes hydrophobic -- literally meaning "water-fearing." The resulting "magic sand" does interesting stuff when exposed to water, as the sand repels the water. Here are two neat videos showing water interacting with water-fearing sand.

Water Drops on Hydrophobic Sand

A weirdly soothing video, this shows what happens as puddles form on top of the sand.

Hydrophobic Sand Underwater

Now things get a little bonkers: pouring the sand into water forms columnar structures (okay, "pooplike" structures) in order to minimize surface area contact of the sand with water. Truly bizarre.