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Science Projects for Kids: Air Pressure


Caved-in Can Experiment
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Crush a can with air pressure.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Crush a can with air pressure.
2007, Publications International, Ltd.

Air pressure is strong enough to bend a can. Find out how you can amaze your friends with the caved-in can experiment.

What You'll Need:

  • Large container
  • Water
  • Ice cubes
  • Empty soda can
  • Measuring cup
  • Stove
  • Tongs or pot holders

Step 1: Fill a large container with water and ice cubes. Set it aside to use later.

Step 2: Pour 1/2 cup of water into an empty soda can.

Step 3: With adult supervision, put the can on a burner on the stove.

Step 4: When the water in the can starts to boil, you will see steam coming from the hole in the top of the can. Turn off the stove, and use tongs or pot holders to remove the can from the heat.

Step 5: Quickly put the can in the container of ice water, turning it upside down to rest on its top. Now, watch the can collapse as it cools.

What Happened? When you heated the water in the can, it produced steam that forced the air out of the can.

When you put the can in the ice water, its temperature lowered, and the steam condensed back into water.

The pressure of the air outside the can was greater than the air pressure inside the can. The weight of the outside air crushed the can.

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ABOUT THE ACTIVITY DESIGNERS

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