Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Egg Experiment

By Brooke Drake, December 21, 2016, Family

Welcome to Fun with Less Kilowatts! We believe that science experiments at home can be a creative way to engage kids in learning while having fun. They can be educational AND great activities to keep your kids busy and away from the television. Each month, we’ll feature a new science experiment that can be a great resource for parents and teachers.

The Egg Experiment

This is classic science experiment is simple to perform and entertaining for kids as well as adults. Under the guise of showing kids how a hard-boiled egg can squeeze through a smaller opening without ever being touched, the actual science is all about air pressure.

CAUTION! Both boiling water and fire are required for this experiment, so adult supervision is required.

The MaterialsFun with Less Kilowatts: The Egg Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Lighter or matches
  • Wide-mouth plastic bottle
  • Vegetable oil
  • Paper

The Directions

  1. Find a bottle with a smaller opening than the diameter of the egg. For example, I used an empty spice jar. The egg needs to be able to sit on top of the bottle without falling in on its own power.
  2. Pour some vegetable oil on a paper towel, and use it to coat the inside edge of the bottle opening to act as lubricant.
  3. Take the hard-boiled egg and peel it. Dip it in the water and then place it on the opening of the bottle, small end down.
  4. Cut a strip of paper big enough to be folded a couple of times lengthwise and slightly shorter than the bottle.
  5. Use a match or lighter and light one end of the strip on fire.
  6. Remove the egg from the opening and immediately place the paper inside with the flame down and quickly replace the egg onto the opening.
  7. Watch as the egg gets sucked inside the bottle.

The ResultFun with Less Kilowatts: The Egg Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

The egg wiggled around before it squeezed into the jar. A successful experiment!

The Science

Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Egg Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

How exactly does the egg squeeze into the bottle without you pushing it in? It’s all about air pressure.

Before we put the burning paper into the bottle, the air pressure inside the bottle was the same as outside, so the egg stayed in place. Once we inserted the burning paper, the fire heated the air inside and caused the air to expand rapidly. Since the egg was immediately placed on top of the bottle, it acted like a seal, preventing the outside air from getting into the bottle.

However, as the air expanded inside the bottle, it started escaping pushing the egg to the side causing it to wiggle. Once the fire eventually burned out, the air inside the bottle cooled. As it cooled, the air took up less space and the pressure became less than the pressure outside. The result? The air pressure outside of the bottle became stronger than that inside the bottle, so it was strong enough to physically push the egg into the bottle!

Even better – you can still eat your hard-boiled egg after the experiment as a reward for your science acumen!

Do you have any fun and kid-friendly science experiments you’d like to see us try for Fun with Less Kilowatts? Share with us in the comments!

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