Changing liquids into solids

In Science Club, Group 3 found out how to change a liquid into a solid without chilling it or freezing it. We were exploring the strange properties of “Oobleck”, a mixture of cornflour and water.

We discovered that when the mixture is pressed hard, it forms a solid

But as soon as you let go, it turns into a liquid again and flows through your fingers and forms a puddle.

This happens because the mixture is formed from tiny starch granules in suspension in the water. They lock together when they are pressed firmly. As soon as the pressure is released, the granules can slide across each other and the liquid can move again.

So how would you escape if you were caught in a giant pool of Oobleck ? (or quicksand, which behaves in a similar way). We experimented with plastic figures to find the best way to rescue them.