Extreme Science: Penny Shine

What you will need:

  • Empty chip bags (the kind that has a foil like lining inside)
  • Microwave
  • Paper plate
  • Adult supervision


  1. First things first – get your Mom’s permission before doing this experiment!
  2. Open the bag of chips.
  3. Eat the chips. 
  4. Flatten out the bag.
  5. Place the bag on a paper plate and place it in the microwave.
  6. Turn the microwave on for five seconds ONLY
  7. Watch in amazement as the bag sparks and quickly shrinks
  8. Open the microwave and remove your paper plate.

CAUTION:  WAIT for the bag to cool off before picking it up off of the paper plate or touching it as it may burn you if it is still too hot!

What is going on?

These bags are made from polymers.  A polymer is a long chain of molecules.  When the produce these bags, they heat up these bunched up polymers strands and stretch them out flat.  By placing them in the microwave, we are heating them back up and allowing them to pull back into these buched up strands similar to a string or rubber band that is twisted up tight.

Radical Rick

Extreme Science



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