Can Implosion or Collapsing can

When talking about can crushing I can’t wait to mention the imploding can experiment that is also called collapsing can. This simply is an experiment that you can do to test how air pressure really works by heating up an empty aluminum beverage can and putting it inside a cold water basin where it should immediately crush itself. This is a really great way to crush cans but of course it is impractical but as an experiment and a fun project for your kinds this can be amazing. The science behind this is that all around us we have an air pressure that is around 14.7 pounds per square inch and that is a tremendous amount of force that we are accustomed to so we don’t even notice it. But if we create a lower pressure environment inside a metal container then the air around that container will still have the same pressure and it will try to equilibrate that difference and because it won’t be able to rush inside from that submerged drinking hole it will crush your can. To do this experiment you need:

  • An empty beverage can,
  • Stove or electric burner,
  • Ice cold water or tap water with ice in it,
  • A bowl,
  • Metal Tongs or Tweezers.

To do this experiment first you need to fill up that bowl with that ice cold water or with regular tap water and add some ice to it and let it melt for a couple of minutes. Then you need to turn on that stove or kitchen burner and follow these steps:

  • Pour a tablespoon of water inside your empty aluminum can. This should be just enough to cover the bottom of the can and the vapor from this water will be the one that will get rid of that air inside it but then will condense quickly creating a lower pressure region.
  • Put your can with that water inside it on that stove or burner and wait for the water to start boiling that should not be that long as there is a small amount of water there. As that water starts boiling wait for some 30 to 50 seconds until the next action.
  • Here you need to take those Tweezers or Thongs and quickly lift that heated can up, turn it upside down and submerge it in that cold water. Here speed is your best friend as if you take longer to do this more air will get inside the can and the effect will not be as cool as it can be.
  • As you submerge that can inside that cold water it should immediately crumble or implode on itself as that water vapor will quickly condense into water again lowering the pressure inside that aluminum container.

This is one really fun experiment that your kids will absolutely love as those cans seem to crush themselves without the need to apply any force to them. Have a great day and have fun crushing your aluminum cans!

Here is a slow motion video of imploding can crusher, crushing aluminum can

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