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Author Topic: What makes sand stick to me?  (Read 5963 times)


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What makes sand stick to me?
« on: 12/02/2011 03:30:02 »
Emily asked the Naked Scientists:
What makes sand stick to me when I go to the beach? And how can I prevent it?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 12/02/2011 03:30:02 by _system »


Offline tbarron

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What makes sand stick to me?
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2011 17:58:47 »
Suppose you press your hand down on some flour in a bin. When you take your hand away, some of the flour will stick and come away with you, just like sand does at the beach. The more moist your hand is, due to water or perspiration, the more particles will stick.

I think this will happen with any small, light weight particles, like plastic beads, sand, dirt, flour, and so forth.

I don't know why this happens. My hypothesis would be that the stickiness is mostly due to oil from our skin, based on the observation that the more moist the skin is, the more particles stick. Also, the harder you press, the more particles stick. With the flour bin, you don't have to press hard on the flour (and therefore less sticks) because you have somewhere else to rest your weight. At the beach, you don't have anywhere to put your weight except on the sand.

To prevent sand sticking to you, I can think of two things: 1) avoid contact with the sand altogether (seems like this would be pretty difficult unless you just stay away from the beach), 2) keep your skin dry (which would be difficult on a hot day. Also, if you go to the beach to swim in the sea, it will be difficult to stay dry.)

Sorry for not being more help. Winding up covered with sand is one of the reasons I choose not to go to the beach. :)

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What makes sand stick to me?
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2011 17:58:47 »


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