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Help me come up with another word for 'runniness' to help explain the concept of viscosity.

(38 Posts)
thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 12:28:30

So far I have 'gloopiness' and 'gooeiness' but they are both a bit too informal.

I have been helping DD (yr4) with her science homework and the teacher has used the word 'runniness' in brackets after the word viscosity. I think this is conceptually misleading as 'high' runniness does not = high viscosity.


Goblinchild Sun 20-Sep-09 12:33:04

So it's the materials resistance to changing form, its reluctance to be runny.

hulahoopyfingers Sun 20-Sep-09 12:34:46


is that even a word hmm

thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 12:36:23

I thought of 'unrunniness' but that is a bit harder to get your head around. In the same way I think reluctance to be runny is, ifkwim

thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 12:38:42

but again it would be its 'unpliability' which is harder to get your head around

thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 12:39:57

'thickness' doesn't quite work either as it is too 'static'

Goblinchild Sun 20-Sep-09 12:41:22

Are you doing any practical experiments in viscosity at home? Perhaps your DD could come up with her own explanation of what she's seeing happen.

clutteredup Sun 20-Sep-09 12:44:29

I think gloopy really says it at YR4 TBH.

thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 12:50:24

As it is she is no longer confused but I was thinking of putting a little note on her homework for the teacher. Should I not bother?

I helped her to understand by using a sort of analogy. We spoke about nice/niceness (cf viscous/viscosity) as her problem was with the correct terminology.

theyoungvisiter Sun 20-Sep-09 12:57:09

I think all that's needed is to say that viscosity is the opposite of runniness.

The teacher's linking of the two is adequate if you explain that they are at opposite ends of the scale (which presumably she did in the lesson?).

Think you may be over-worrying.

thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 13:03:51

In brackets after viscosity was the word runniness. This lead DD to assume that the liquid that had the highest runniness (water) also had the highest viscosity. I think that was a fair assumption but obviously wrong.

I am not worrying - I am just trying to make a simple concept simple.

mrz Sun 20-Sep-09 16:44:24


MaryAmericanSmooth Sun 20-Sep-09 17:01:50

tackiness ?

captainmillenniumflint Sun 20-Sep-09 17:03:36


thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 18:36:11

Tackiness and stickiness are a bit too glue-like and fluidity presents the same probs as runniness

I know I know I'm a fussy so and so.

Thanks for the replies though. smile

TsarChasm Sun 20-Sep-09 18:38:33

Melted? ie chocolate.


captainmillenniumflint Sun 20-Sep-09 20:04:32


thedolly Sun 20-Sep-09 20:37:50

thickness is a bit too 'static', you need to convey the idea of 'flow'

Greensleeves Sun 20-Sep-09 20:40:31

slow-moving liquid

DillyTantay Sun 20-Sep-09 20:42:00


JoeJoe1977 Sun 20-Sep-09 20:43:06

It's nearly how 'clingy' a liquid is, if it is more 'clingy' then it doesn't flow as quickly.

Imagine the liquid with lots of little hands in it trying to stop it flowing, higher viscosity means more hands trying to hold on so it doesn't flow as efficiently.

ElectricElephant Sun 20-Sep-09 20:44:05

What substances are we talking here?

Thixotropic is an excellent word, but has it's limits

ElectricElephant Sun 20-Sep-09 20:45:26

btw - ketchup is a thixotropic fluid. You shake it to make it more liquid.

ElectricElephant Sun 20-Sep-09 20:47:47

oh, apparently not (whoops) grin


Perhaps a bit complicated for 4yo!!

Montifer Sun 20-Sep-09 20:50:07

Could you talk about the pourability of the liquid?

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