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Science Sundays: The Power of Air Pressure

Posted at 11:21 AM, Nov 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-13 14:21:41-05

(KERO) — If you ever been on an airplane or driven up a mountain you have may have felt you ears pop. This is due to a drop in atmospheric pressure, or air pressure.

Now, looking at our experiment. You'd expect if you took a 15 pound weight and put it on an aluminum can, you'd crush the can. It is the same with us, as the atmosphere is always pushing down on us with about 15 pounds of force. We can actually use that force to crush a can. For this experiment you will need a can with some water boiling inside of it, some ice water, and a heating element.

Take the can thats on the heating element pick it up with some tongs and put it in the ice water. Then see as the can crushes.

When you do this experiment its very important to use ice water and to put the can in mouth down.

The can crushes because when we boil water in the can, it fills with water vapor. When we add it to the ice water the vapor condenses, the pressure drops to zero, and the can gets crushed.

Be careful the cans as they get hot and try it with different sizes and types of cans to get different results.