Using a liquid thermometer

Using a liquid thermometer

Equipment you’ll need:

For the thermometer:

  • Ethanol/rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Food colouring (red)
  • Test tube/clear straw

For the experiment:

  • Bowl of ice and water
  • Bowl of warm water

Please note that this experiment can easily be conducted using an ordinary liquid thermometer, if you are unable to make one in class.



  • Mark a line on the tube of your as it rests at room temperature
  • Place the thermometer in the water and ice bowl and observe the liquid drop below your room temperature mark
  • Remove the thermometer from the water and ice bowl and place it in the warm water bowl
  • Observe the liquid in the thermometer rise up and beyond the room temperature mark


  • If you’re making your own thermometer, place a small amount of liquid in the tube and observe it’s reaction to the change in temperature