How to make a cork look silvery

One of the most curious and interesting physical phenomena that exist is undoubtedly optics, as its effects can make us see colours or shapes that are not really found in an object. In this article we will see how to make a cork look silver, using concepts of optics and taking advantage of the reflection of light.

Cork stopper


- A cork lid.

- A long knitting needle or a rod.

- One candle.

- A glass container with water.

Conducting our experiment

The first thing we are going to do is to place the cork firmly in the knitting needle and light a candle, we must be very careful with the fire if we are small, if we are, it is preferable to ask an adult for help in this step. Then we are going to smoke the cork by passing it through the flame repeatedly, until the cork takes a black colour of scorched or charred.

Cork scorching

Once this is done, we must place the cork inside the container with water and we will be able to observe how it can be seen with a quite shiny silver colour, this colour is similar to that of aluminium foil.

How the optical effect is created

When the cork is burnt, a free surface is created on which the water does not adhere when it comes into contact with the cork, thus the light reflects off the water and gives a rather curious silver-coloured effect.

This experiment is quite curious and can be used as an eye-catching science project for the early primary grades.

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