One of the ways to classify materials according to its properties is to determine whether it can absorb water or not.
Materials can absorb or repel water.
To absorb means to take in or swallow up in a natural way.
To repel means to keep something out or away.
Materials that can absorb liquids such as water are called porous materials.
Can you make an umbrella or a boat out of porous materials?
What do face masks, face shields, and the personal protective equipment (PPE) used by health workers have in common?
Why do you think cotton clothes are more comfortable to wear in hot places?
If you accidentally spill milk on the table, do you think the milk will be absorbed by the table? Does it matter what kind of table it is? Do people consider the porosity of a material when buying things?
These are the things you can think about as you work on this lesson on the ability of materials to absorb water.
Note on the Worksheets
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In this worksheet on materials that absorb water, you are asked to sort familiar objects by whether or not they can absorb water. As you sort them, think about how their porosity affects how they are used and what we use them for.
Use this worksheet as follow-up exercise for this lesson on materials that absorb water. Even though it may sometimes seem trivial, the porosity of a material actually matters in many of the decisions we make in our day-to-day lives.
This is a 10-point quiz on materials that can or can’t absorb water (porous or nonporous materials).