Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer Fun 2014 - Boiling Water and Popping Balloons - Science For Tweens and Teens



After our strange, and still somewhat baffling, crayon candle experience, we decided to move on to a safer, tried and true, Steve Spangler recommended activity.  We had read on his site, that if you slowly lower an ordinary balloon...


...down over a candle flame...


...the latex will melt, and the balloon will pop, well before you reach the flame.  That turned out to be true. Sorry for the blurry picture, but the "pop" was surprisingly loud.  I jumped as I snapped the shot, while A jumped, and jerked the stick back up at the same time.


Mr. Spangler also promised us that if we tried the experiment again, but with a water balloon, not only would the balloon not pop, but water inside would boil.


I'm not sure our water was really boiling.  We could see little bubbles starting rise, and the balloon felt like a hot water bottle - which was pretty cool.  There was carbon from the candle flame on the bottom of the balloon, but no damage.  And we wondered...


...what would happen if we used the sun's heat, focused through a magnifying glass, instead of a candle flame.  We had to wait a few days for the sun to show, but when it popped out this morning we were ready.

D volunteered to give it a try, while I attempted to photograph his efforts.  I ran to grab the camera, while he worked at focusing the sun through the magnifying glass onto the balloon.  I didn't even have the camera out of the case when there was a loud - pop.  It might have been even louder than when we popped the balloon over the candle.  D said the balloon popped the second he positioned the beam of light onto it.


I wanted him to try again, so I could see for myself (and try for a picture), but he was shell shocked, and ready to move on to the safer, and quieter, water balloon.


We timed out five minutes of burning time on the balloon, keeping the light beam as fixed as possible.  Not only did the balloon not break, but the water was still cold.  We've worked enough with our magnifying glass this summer to be pretty certain we had a nice hot beam of light focused on the balloon.

I really wanted to try aiming the light at the bubble of air on the balloon.  But, dressed in our Sunday clothes, five minutes before time to leave for church on Father's Day, didn't seem like the optimum time for a lengthy, or potentially water drenching experiment.


By the time the service was over the clouds had rolled back in, and the sun was completely out of sight.  The little air bubble will have to wait for another day.

It's just as well, as it will give us time to pull out our extra safety glasses, and work out some kind of splash barrier to stand behind.  Safety first you know.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

5 comments:

Phyllis said...

This is all very interesting!

Ticia said...

Oh man I can imagine the fun to be had with trying to fry water balloons at our house.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

This is my favorite kind of science - curiosity-driven!

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

You find amazing things to do which are also simple at the same time...

Morgan Ivy said...

We have the same calendar, im convinced of your good taste :)