Soda Can Crusher

Did you know that air pressure is strong enough to crush a soda can?


Warning:   
This experiment should only be performed 
with adult supervision.

 

Materials

* 1 Empty aluminum soda can
* Saucepan
* 1 Pair of kitchen tongs
* Bowl with ice water



Instructions

1.  Fill the saucepan with cold water to cover the bottom.
2.  Pour 1-2 tablespoons of water into the empty soda can.
3.  Place the can in the saucepan and heat it to boil the water.
4.  Wait until you see steam escaping from the can.  (You have to look very carefully to distinguish the steam coming from the water in the saucepan from the steam escaping from the can)
5.  Grasp the can with the tongs, quickly invert it into the ice water bath.   Make sure the top (and opening) of the can is completely submerged to prevent the steam from inside the can from escaping completely.)

* Note:  If you have an electric stove with a burner that has a solid surface, you can place the can (filled with 1-2 tbs of water) directly on the burner.


Results

The soda can implodes on itself with a loud popping sound.


What happened?

The vapor (steam) from the boiling water inside the can pushed the air out of the can.  The can cooled instantly when you inverted it in the ice water, causing the vapor in the can to condense. This created a vacuum in the can, or an area of extremely low pressure.  The air outside the can is then much higher than the air inside the can and we know that high pressure pushes on things.   The higher pressure outside the can caused the can to be crushed.


You may find that some water also gets sucked into the can because of the vacuum, but the water cannot flow into the can fast enough to fill the can before the air outside crushes it.

Conclusion

Air pressure is powerful!

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