The Year of Science

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Sandcastle Science


The sun is shining, so why not hit the beach! And while relaxing on the beach, why not carve and chisel that everyday sand into an impressive sand sculpture. Every summer, towns in B.C. like Parksville celebrate the sunshine with sandcastle-building competitions where experts mould sand into elaborate sculptures. So how can you build your own impressive sandy work of art? Turns out, there’s science to it!

The most important ingredient to building a successful sandcastle is of course, sand. The best sand grains to use are sharp and small. Sharp grains create a lot of friction against one another which makes them stick together better, and small grains can be easily packed down.

In order for your sandcastle to hold the shape you want, it needs water which acts like a glue and binds the grains of sand together. The surface tension in water allows it to form little bridges that connect each grain of sand together. Too much water will fill the spaces between grains, making the sand gooey.

Once you’ve found tiny, angular sand grains, and have added just enough water to keep the sand together, you’ll be ready to start sculpting your masterpiece.