To investigate the strength of a balloon and the conditions that allow them to be punctured and remain inflated.
A balloon is made up of polymer chains that have an elastic quality. At certain points of the balloon, the polymers are not fully stretched and a skewer can penetrate them without bursting the balloon.
- Long sharp object such as a skewer
- Cooking oil (optional)
Make an educated guess regarding what will happen to the material of the balloon. Will it pop? Can it withstand a puncture?
- Inflate balloon
- Using a slow, twisting motion, insert the skewer into the thicker end of the balloon
- If this is difficult, dip the skewer in oil, lightly coating the end
- Once skewer has penetrated the balloon, remove it without popping the balloon
- After practicing a few times, try putting the skewer all the way through both sides of the balloon
What did you observe? What causes the balloon to pop? How many times can you puncture the balloon? Do some research into the properties of the balloon. Explain why your hypothesis was correct or incorrect.
What variables control the behavior of the balloon in this experiment (e.g. speed, force, etc.)? Why does the oil help the balloon hold together? Does it matter what the balloon is made out of?