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Determine the viscosity of honey using a ball bearing.

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Using a ball bearing to find the viscosity of honey


The aim of this experiment is to determine the viscosity of honey using a ball bearing.


I predict that the viscosity for honey, for every reading I get, from every ball bearing regardless of size or weight will be the same.


The honey acts as a resistance force on the ball bearing. In other wards it is when the upthrust and the viscous drag act against the weight of the ball due to gravity.

The viscosity of the honey will determine how fast the ball will travel down towards the bottom of the measuring cylinder due to gravity acting on the mass of the ball. You can find the viscosity using the following equation:                      

Although it is possible to establish the valve for viscosity from one reading, I will improve my accuracy by taking readings for a range of lengths for the viscosity of honey.

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I could increase the size and weight of the ball; this can give me the same readings for speed as smaller ball, which has less weight and surface area only if they are indirect proportion.  
  • I could increase the temperature of the honey this would decrease the viscosity, inversely proportional. Since the viscosity of most fluids are highly dependant on there temperature. In order for me to get precise results I will need to keep the same temperature for each set of readings.

The variable that I have decided to investigate is increasing size and weight of the ball bearing. However my ball bearings will not be indirectly proportion to each other.        

Plan, including accuracy and precision considerations

I need to determine the speed of the ball bearing in order to find the viscosity.

The viscosity of the honey will be determined by inserting a ball bearing into a measuring cylinder filled up to      grams of honey.

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30cm ruler: which measures to the nearest millimetre?

Stop watch: to measure the speed at which the ball bearing travels. This                               stopwatch will measure to the nearest millisecond.

Safety considerations

I will need to wear gloves to increase my grip on the equipment just in case I spill some honey. For example the thermometer will be covered in honey because I will be using it to measure the temperature.  I will need to wear safety glasses in case I accidentally drop the measuring cylinder. Hence the safety glasses will protect my eyes from glass.

Analysing the data

I need to find the value for the viscosity of honey using the equation                                                    

I could simply calculate this value but I believe a more accurate method is to plot a graph. I want to plot a straight-line graph because this will allow me to pick out any anomalous results that lie away from the results more easily. This means I need to plot viscosity against                Having constructed a best fit line (ignoring any clearly anomalous results).                            

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