Hooked on Science: Make a potato gun

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Using a few materials from around the house, you can create a potato gun.

Materials

* 36-inch wooden dowel rod

* 24-inch copper tube

* Potato

Instructions

STEP 1: Push one end of the copper tube into the potato. Pull the tube out of the potato.

STEP 2: Push the other end of the copper tube into the potato. Pull the tube out of the potato.

STEP 3: Use the wooden dowel rod to push one of the potato plugs about 6 inches into the copper tube.

STEP 4: Leaving the dowel rod in the copper tube, point the other end into the sky, and quickly push the dowel rod farther into the copper tube.

Explanation

As you pushed the dowel rod farther into the copper tube the volume of trapped air decreased, while the pressure increased. This propelled the potato plugs out of the tube into the air.

Jason Lindsey is a science outreach educator with Hooked on Science. Check out his website www.hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments that might get you hooked on science. Send him your science questions at jlindseyhookedonscience.com.

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