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Stop Motion of Einstein

Evolving Education

Episode 08: Bed of Nails

Material Required:

For this experiment, we need 3 things

  1. Some thumpins
  2. A cardboard (If you put the pins through the cardboard, you get a bed of nails like this)
  3. A Balloon

A Balloon

Conducting the Experiment:

  1. Let’s begin with a board of nails. Put the nails at an equal distance from one another just like this.
  2. - Now grab the balloon and press it against the board of nails. The balloon doesn’t burst. Why isn’t the balloon bursting? ( Einstein is confused ) Wait, let me try this on a bigger bed of nails. Notice how these nails are also placed at an equal distance.
  3. Grab the balloon and place it on the bed of nails.
  4. Now we will put pressure on this balloon with the help of a cardboard. The balloon doesn’t burst yet again. Why is this happening? Let’s find out!

Scientific Principle and Application

Question: Why couldn’t the balloon burst on the bed of nails?

Aren’t these nails sharp enough? Let’s test it out. But wait, how could just one nail burst the balloon but all the nails put together couldn’t? Well, This is a game of managing pressure. And haven’t we all felt pressured by something at some point?

Like the pressure of doing tons of homework or the pressure of coming first in a race or the pressure on our shoulders of carrying heavy school bags? But where does all this pressure come from? And how can we manage it?

Pressure is created when an outside force is applied on a given area. So basically, there are 3 players in this game : Force, Pressure and Area. So to manage pressure, all you have to do is either manage Force or the Area. Imagine you have to organize a big party on your own. From food, decorations, invitation to games and music.

Do you think you can do all of this on your own?

Let’s say the number of tasks you have to do is actually the force and the number of people doing it is the given area. If you decide to bear the force of all the 5 tasks then the pressure on you is 5. But if you distribute the tasks amongst 4 more people, the pressure on each person is now just 1. Hurray! So now you see how the pressure on you reduces from 5 to 1 because the force got evenly divided.

Isn’t this super cool? So did the same thing happen to our balloon? Absolutely! A single nail could burst the balloon because all the force exerted by my hands got concentrated on a very small area that is the tip of the nail. But when I increased this area by making a bed of nails, I couldn’t burst the balloon because the force got evenly distributed on the nails.

This shows that by increasing the area, we can decrease the pressure, and, By decreasing the area, we can increase the pressure

Oh so this is why knives, needles,pins and nails are so sharp and pointy. A blunt metal plate can not cut anything but when we sharpen its edges, we reduce its surface area. By reducing the surface area, we increase its pressure and therefore its ability to pierce through things easily.

But does this mean that our balloon would never burst on the bed of nails? Ah, NO! Because when I put more force on the balloon, it explodes! This happens because even though the force is getting evenly distributed, the pressure is so high that the balloon can not handle it and so it explodes! This shows that by increasing the force, we can increase the pressure.

So now you see, managing pressure is easy peasy.

To reduce the

  • To reduce the
  • Increase the area

To increase the pressure

  • 1. Increase the force or
  • 2. Decrease the area.

So now that you know how to manage pressure, make your own bed of nails and get funnling! Toodles!

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