Flubber Glacier Model

Flubber is a model for the flow of glacier ice

NPS photo

Objective: Determine how different conditions affect the flow of ice (flubber)

Glue, borax, water, food coloring, and utensils for making flubber

NPS photo


  • ruler/measuring tape
  • stopwatch
  • PVC pipe (~1m, cut lengthwise)
  • markers
  • Flubber
    • warm water
    • white glue (Elmer's)
    • Borax
    • food coloring (optional)

Work through hands until flubber achieves consistent texture

NPS photo

Make the Flubber

  1. In one container, combine the following:
  • 3/4 C. warm water
  • 1 C. white (Elmer's) glue
  • food coloring
  1. In another container, combine the following:
  • 2 tsp Borax
  • 1/2 C. warm water
  1. Combine the two mixtures and work through the hands until it achieves a consistent texture
  2. Repeat so that you have three (3) batches of Flubber, each a different color
  • put one in the refrigerator
  • put one in a container floating in hot water
  • leave one at room temperature conditions
Hold the flubber in place so that both flows begin at the same time

NPS photo


  1. Set up two "tracks" of PVC pipe at the same angle
  2. Run the experiment twice, comparing the hot and cold Flubber to the room temperature Flubber
  3. Hold both Flubbers at the same position at the top of the track
  4. Release the Flubber! and start the stopwatch
  5. Every thirty seconds, use the measuring tape to record how far the Flubbers have flowed
Use a marker to draw parallel lines on the flubber and watch how they distort as it flows
Use a marker to draw parallel lines on the flubber and watch how they distort as it flows.

NPS photo

For variations on the experiment, you can try changing the angle of the PVC pipe to make it steeper or shallower. You can also put sandpaper or cooking oil on the "valley" to increase or decrease friction.

Which flubber flowed faster: hot, cold, or room temperature?

Why do you think that is?

How do you think using sandpaper or oil would change the way the flubber flowed?

Last updated: June 19, 2017


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