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Saturday
Jan012011

Video Demo: Balloon Suck

This is a different version of the old egg suck into a milk bottle demo.  I got this idea from a Steve Spangler demonstration in which he uses a water balloon instead of and egg.  Basically a piece of burning paper is placed into a flask and then a water balloon sits on top.  The oxygen gets used up during the reaction, creating a lower pressure inside the flask than outside.  The balloon gets pushed in as a result.

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Reader Comments (2)

Very clear video! Just note that the explanation provided is incorrect. If consumption of oxygen were the mechanism, the balloon would be pushed in while the fire was burning. But if you watch carefully the balloon is being pushed away while the fire burns, and only begins to get pushed into the flask once the fire gets extinguished. During combustion, carbon dioxide and water vapor form, so consumption of oxygen is counter-acted by formation of other gases anyway.

The actual cause is multifactorial. Once the fire dies the gases in the flask begin to cool. This causes a drop in pressure. In addition, some of the water vapor formed during the combustion condenses, which also causes a drop in pressure. The solubility of carbon dioxide in the water droplets that form might contribute a bit to the effect, too.

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua Buchman

Thanks for the feedback. I will have to go back and make the changes. It's definitely important to get the science right.

January 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterDarren Fix

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