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Weather Academy: Imploding Can & Rising Water Experiments

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:53 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Last week on the Weather Academy, Sheena explained how high and low pressure affect our weather. This week we are conducting a few experiments that will help to illustrate just strong pressure can be. Plus these experiments can easily be replicated at home.

First Experiment: Low Pressure in a Glass

What you’ll need:

  • A plate
  • A clear glass
  • Food coloring
  • A candle
  • A lighter
  • Water
  • Play-Doh

Steps:

  1. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water. This will make it easier to see.
  2. Pour the water into the plate. You want to make a puddle that is about half an inch deep.
  3. Place the candle in the middle of the plate. Make sure that it is secure
  4. Light the candle
  5. Place the glass over the candle

Once the candle burns out, it creates an area of low pressure inside the class and then our glass acts as a column of air. Warm air is rising inside of the glass and that’s going to help pull in all that water as the air converges, it’s going to pull the water up. And that’s why we see the water rise inside our column.

Second Experiment: Crushing Cans with Pressure

What you’ll need:

  • Empty aluminum cans
  • A bowl of ice water
  • Tongs
  • A glass of lukewarm water
  • A hot plate or stovetop

Steps:

  1. Turn the hot plate or stovetop to medium/high heat
  2. Pour a small amount of lukewarm water into the empty can
  3. Place the can onto the hot plate or stovetop.
  4. Once the can starts to steam, take your tongs and flip the can upside down into the bowl of ice water.

As the can heats up on the stovetop, the water inside of it is turned into water vapor. This water vapor then rises and pushes the air out of the can. This was visible as steam. Then, when we flip the warmed can into the ice water, the can implodes. Cooling the can caused the water vapor in the can to condense, creating a partial vacuum. Suddenly the pressure outside the can is greater than inside the can, causing it to collapse on itself!

Thank you for watching this week’s Weather Academy. We hope that these experiments helped you understand pressure a little bit more. And you can try any of these experiments at home. Now with this one you may want to have an adult help you out but if you do try them out. Make sure to upload either videos or pictures so that we can feature you in next week’s segment!

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