Hooked on science: Air cannon

Friday, July 11, 2008

Did you know you can build your own air cannon by using a few items from around the house? Grab an adult and then get these supplies.

Materials

* 32-gallon trash can

* Shower curtain

* 2 bungee cords

Instructions

STEP 1: Have an adult use a knife to cut a 5-inch hole in the bottom of the trash can.

STEP 2: Cut a large square from the shower curtain. Make sure this square is large enough to stretch over the top of the trash can.

STEP 3: Stretch the piece of shower curtain over the top of the trash can.

STEP 4: Secure the piece of shower curtain with the bungee cords.

Explanation

The air cannon proves that air takes up space. When you hit the shower curtain, the pressure on the inside of the can increases and pushes the air out of the trash can. The smaller the hole in the bottom of the can, the faster the air will push out of the trash can.

Jason Lindsey is a Science Outreach Educator for the Bootheel Youth Museum. Check out his Web site "Hooked On Science" at hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments that might get you hooked on science. Send him your science questions at jlindsey@bootheelyouthmuseum.org. More science experiments can be found at www.semissourian.com.

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