Have you ever noticed how Cheerios (and other light breakfast cereal) seem to aggregate to form clumps when they float on the milk in your breakfast bowl? What is it that makes these cereal pieces such good friends? Some people have described it as ‘sugaring. ' Soaking in milk causes the sugars and starches that coat the cereal to become sticky. Physicists have -- and they 've given it a name: the "Cheerios effect".
In fluid mechanics, the Cheerios effect is the phenomenon that occurs when floating objects that don 't normally float attract one another.
At the root of the Cheerio Effect are buoyancy, surface tension, gravity, and the meniscus effect—basic physics concepts.
Buoyancy or density of an object compared to the water or air surrounding it, determines whether an object submerged in water or surrounded by air will sink, float, or stay put. Buoyancy is what keeps objects afloat. If an object is less dense than the water or air surrounding it, the object floats; if the object is denser, it sinks. When an object does float on water, the water will not remain flat, but will instead form a bump or dimple, depending on the object’s weight. When two identical objects float close together, the change is more noticeable—two cheerios, for example, will cause slight dents in the milk and close together, will appear to “fall into” each other or form clumps.
Surface tension is a property that makes the surface of a liquid act like a flexible membrane. It results from various