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CAN YOU CRUSH A CAN?

Use the power of air pressure to crush a tin can

Suitable For

Grade 8

Difficulty

3

Time Required

 <1 Hour

Supervision

Required

What’s it about?

Even though we cannot feel the surrounding or ‘ambient’ air pushing down on our bodies all the time, you should still never underestimate the power that air possesses! The air around us has a lot of power especially when low and high pressure systems are created with it! Try to crush a tin can using only air pressure in the following science experiment and learn just how powerful, and dangerous air pressure can be:

Topics covered

Pressure, Air pressure (Atmospheric pressure), Evaporate, Condensate

What will I need?

  • TAP WATER
  • ALUMINIUM BAKING PAN
  • SODA TIN CAN
  • TONGS
  • ADULT HELPER

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment, we create a change in air pressure to crush the can. In its normal state the can is filled with some water and air. When the water in the can is boiled on the stove it ‘evaporates’ and changes from a liquid to a gas. This gas or ‘steam’ pushes the air upwards and out of the can as it rises and when the can is quickly placed upside down in the cool water, it is sealed and the air cannot go back inside the can.

The remaining steam trapped inside the can also cools down causing the steam to ‘condensate’ and turn back to a few drops of water. This takes up much less space in the can and causes the air pressure inside the can to drop. The air pressure on the outside of the can is now greater than the air pressure inside and it pushes the walls of the can inward causing the can collapse.

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