Extreme Science: Balloon in a Bottle - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Extreme Science: Balloon in a Bottle

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What you will need:
  • Two empty one liter pop bottles.
  • Two 9 or 12 inch balloons
  • Drill, awl or sharp nail
  • Adult supervision

Procedure:

  1. On one of your empty pop bottles, carefully drill or poke a small hole in the bottom of the bottle. This hole should be no larger than ¼ inch in diameter.
  2. Place a balloon inside each bottle stretching the mouth of the balloon of the mouth of the bottle. The balloons should be hanging inside the bottles now.
  3. Hand the bottle that DOES NOT have the hole in the bottom of it to a friend and ask them to blow up the balloon. After they realize that they cannot blow up their balloon, you can show them how easy it is by blowing up your balloon. As soon as you blow your balloon up, make sure to cover the hole with your finger.

What is going on?

Although the bottles both appear to be empty, they are actually full of air. Since air molecules take up space, when your friend tries to blow up their balloon it begins to get larger and starts pushing against the other air molecules that are already inside of the bottle. It doesn't take long until the pressure inside the bottle is greater than your friend is able to produce with his lungs. Essentially, it is the same as trying to blow up the bottle without the balloon in there. There is no way that we can blow hard enough to make the bottle any bigger. These bottles will actually hold about 180 lbs of pressure per square inch before the explode, which is very dangerous!

Since your bottle has a hole in the bottom of it, as you blow air into the mouth of your bottle and the balloon grows larger, the air that is inside of the bottle is able to escape out through the hole making it as easy as blowing up a balloon. As soon as you place your finger over the hole, the air cannot get back into the bottle so the balloon stays inflated. The air that is inside of the balloon is at 14.7 lbs per square inch, just as the rest of the air pressure all around us. As the balloon tries to shrink, the air that is around the outside of the balloon (inside the bottle) is also under pressure. If the balloon were to actually shrink and no air was allowed to come back into the bottle, that space between the bottle and the balloon would get larger causing the air pressure to drop.

Try this:

Make sure you are outside or over the sink when doing this – after blowing up your balloon, hold your finger over the hole and fill the balloon with water. Now watch what happens when you release your finger! Again, please make sure you are either outside or you are holding the bottle over the sink when you release your finger from the hole!

Radical Rick
Extreme Science
www.ExtremeScienceFun.com
509-892-7621

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