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I made ScienceFix.com to share my favorite demos that I do in my middle school science classes.  

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« Reaction Bag | Main | Video Demo: Boiling Points »
Wednesday
Aug052009

The Reverse Balloon

One of my all time favorite demos. This is a variation on the crushing of the soda can via atmospheric pressure. I do this demo when studying the phases of matter. The molecules in a gas are rapidly moving in all directions and they are spaced as far apart as possible. When cooled to a liquid phase, the molecules come together as close together as possible thus taking up less space. This demo illustrates that.

Fill the 250 ml flask with about 50 ml of water. Set the flask on the hot plate and heat until water boils. Carefully take the flask off the hot plate with tongs. Carefully (don’t get burned) stretch the opening of the balloon over the mouth of the flask. Then with tongs, carefully transfer the flask so that the bottom half sits in ice water. Watch what happens!

The gaseous water in the flask quickly turns to the liquid phase. The molecules in the liquid phase take up much less space (volume) and the balloon gets pushed (sucked) into the flask and stays that way. Your students will be amazed.

Sometimes I show the end result to them first, and they are then challenged to test ways in which it can be done.

Precautions: Use tongs in this demo. The flask gets extremely hot.

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