Do Try This At Home - 11-1-21

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:32 AM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - On this week’s Do Try This At Home with the Don Harrington Discovery Center, we’ll show you how to crush a can using cold water, ice, and air pressure!

ICE WATER CAN CRUSHER

MATERIALS:

  • Empty drink can
  • Shallow tray or dish
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Stove or hot plate (You can use a saucepan with an induction hob)
  • Tongs

PROCEDURE:

  • Prepare the tray or dish with enough ice to cover the base.
  • Add enough water to the tray to just cover the ice.
  • Put a small amount of water in the can. A little more than to just cover the bottom of the can.
  • Heat the can with water on the stove or hot plate until the water boils and steam starts coming out of the can.
  • Once there is a steady stream of steam coming out of the can and the water is boiling, grab the can with the tongs and quickly place it into the ice water upside down.
  • The can should quickly and loudly crush.

EXPLANATION:

  • When the water in the can is heated, it evaporates into water vapor. Water vapor takes up more space and air is pushed outside of the can.
  • Then, when the can is placed in the ice water, the water vapor condenses, causing it to take up less space. This creates a partial vacuum and strong low pressure in the can.
  • The cold ice water creates a seal over the mouth of the can and because the atmospheric pressure outside of the can is much stronger than the pressure inside the can, the can quickly crushes under the weight.
  • Air pressure is constantly in play in our atmosphere. The weight of the air is on us always, we just can’t tell because it has always been there.
  • The interaction between air pressure, temperature, and water vapor is what drives all weather systems.

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