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Try the boiled egg trick with the News 2 Science Geeks

This experiment shows us the power of air pressure.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Welcome back to News 2 Science Geeks! It's a new weekly segment that gives you some easy-to-do science experiments during this period of staying at home. Have fun, and let us know if you try this one out. 

This week we're going to make a boiled egg squeeze into a bottle using air pressure. You’ll need adult help with this one. 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • A hard-boiled egg 
  • A bottle or jar with an opening slightly smaller than the diameter of the egg
  • A lighter
  • A small piece of paper

FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

  1. Light the piece of paper and carefully put it into the jar. (Requires help from an adult.)
  2. Quickly put the egg in the opening, with its pointed side face down. 
  3. Step back and watch. If it doesn’t work the first time you may want to put a little oil in the opening of the jar to make it easier to slide in. Also, be sure to place the egg in the opening very quickly before the flame goes out. 

WHY DID IT WORK?

We created low pressure in the bottle by heating the air with the burning piece of paper. The warm air escaped the bottle, which lowered the pressure in the bottle. 

Once the pressure in the bottle was low enough, the higher pressure in the room started pushing down on the egg until it was forced inside the bottle. 

In the atmosphere, air always flows from high pressure to low pressure. That pressure differential is what causes the wind. This concept of pressure differential is also used in other sciences such as petroleum engineering. For example, oil is pumped out of the ground by making the pressure at the surface in the pumper lower than the pressure in the ground where the oil is located. That results in the oil moving upward from the higher pressure in the ground toward the lower pressure at the surface.  

Hope you enjoyed this week’s experiment! 

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