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You are HERE >> Science : Grade 3 - 5

Egg in a Bottle
    by Belinda Mooney 
   November 8, 2000
 
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This is a great science experiment that you can do with the kids. 

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Materials Needed:

An apple juice bottle or cider bottle
Newspaper
Matches
A hard boiled egg
Sauce Pot

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Instructions:

    Wash and dry the juice bottle.
  1.  Peel the egg.
  2. Cut or tear the newspaper into strips.
  3. Place the strips into the juice bottle.
  4. Light the strips on fire. Adult supervision required.
  5. When the paper starts to burn, place the egg over the opening of the bottle.
  6. Wait.....keep waiting....
  7. The egg will be pressed inside the bottle with a loud pop!
The pressure in the bottle was reduced when the fire used up the oxygen inside. The force of the air pressure outside of the bottle, pushed the egg inside. 



 
Submitted by:  © Belinda Mooney Belinda Mooney is a homeschool mom of 7 children in their 14th year of homeschooling. She enjoys writing unit studies, reading, crafts, cooking and working on her websites. Belinda has written articles for The Toybox and Joyfull Noise magazines. She has been asked to contribute history content to Learning and Teaching Scotland for high schools in Scotland. Belinda is the content manager for learningtreasures.com, childrensrecipes.com, kidskreate.com and dinnersinthefreezer.com (coming soon). She is also the Thrifty tip guru at thrifty-tips.com.  If you would like to know whenever Belinda updates any of her web sites just subscribe to her newsletter -The Family Forum http://homeschoolmom.terrashare.com/. Jot a note to Belinda Mooney
Feedback:
*I stumbled across your site and noticed the "Egg in a Bottle" experiment by
Belinda Mooney. My only comment is that you can do this experiment without the hazard of using an open flame by putting a small amount of water in the bottle and heating it just to boiling.  Remove the bottle from the heat and immediately put the egg over the mouth. The vaporized water displaces some of the air in the bottle and condenses once the vapor begins to cool,
thereby lowering the pressure. I have used this experiment many times with
great success. Manny Braun

~~~
Sept, 2004

My sixth grade daughter was recently shown the egg sucked into a bottle experiment. The explanation she was given was  inaccurate so out of curiosity I went to the web to see what explanations others offered.

The first explanation I found, this one, showed the same misinterpretation my daughter had been offered. 

A accurate explanation is:  the fire in the bottle heats the air, exciting the air molecules and raising the pressure inside the bottle.  Because the egg is just sitting on the top it is lifted enough by the higher pressure inside so some air escapes to equalize the pressure.  After the fire goes out, the air cools back down and the pressure inside drops.  The pressure outside presses the egg against the bottle and make a seal.  (the egg acts as a one way valve).  Once the air inside the bottle cools enough and the pressure inside drops enough, the now higher pressure outside pushes the egg through the bottle neck.

The original explanation violates a basic principle of chemistry, the conservation of mass.  The burning paper converts some quantity of hydrocarbon  from the paper and oxygen from the air into an essentially equal quantity of  water vapor ( H2O ) and carbon dioxide (CO2 ).  The consumed oxygen is replaced by the gasses that come from the combustion so the egg is not sucked in "because the oxygen was used up".

If fire in a closed chamber really lowered pressure by consuming the oxygen,  the explosion of gasoline inside the cylinder of a car engine would not drive the piston down to turn the crank shaft and propel the car.  The piston is driven down because the heat of combustion along with the fact that there is as much gas after the explosion as before actually raises the pressure.

        Richard Treumann
        (raised by a university Professor of Physical Chemistry)


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