Wringing Out a Washcloth in Space

Published on April 18th, 2013 | by

Chris Hadfield Wringing Out Washcloth in Space

What happens when you wring out a soggy washcloth in zero gravity? Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station demonstrates.

Two high school students from Nova Scotia, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, won a national science contest with their “Ring it out” experiment. Their experiment asks how the lack of gravity on the space station might influence the water wrung out a washcloth.

Commander Chris Hadfield on the space station took a washcloth (which starts out compressed in hockey puck shape), fills the washcloth with water, and wrings it out in this video.

On earth, the water would fall out of the washcloth and onto the floor due to the effects of gravity. Without gravity, the surface tension of the water is the main force at play. The water basically stays on the surface of the washcloth and runs out over Hadfield’s hands. It’s fascinating to watch.

I suppose astronauts have to be careful when bathing in space. A thin film of water could coat the whole body and drown a person.

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