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Stop Motion of Einstein

Evolving Education

Episode 12: Candle Tray Lifter

Material Required :

For this experiment, we need 5 things.

  1. 5 glasses
  2. A wet paper cloth
  3. A Candle
  4. A Matchbox
  5. A tray

Let’s get started!

Conducting the Experiment:

  1. Place a folded wet cloth in the center of the tray.
  2. Now place a candle over it and light the candle.
  3. Cover the candle with a glass - just like this. Notice how the flame goes out after we put a glass on top of the candle.
  4. Press on the glass from top. Do this carefully and without moving the glass too much

Einstein is looking into the glass. Trying to figure out what’s happening inside. He ends up lifting the tray in the process and is surprised. He wants to test how much can this glass lift?

So, he places the 4 glasses on top of the tray. What do you think, will the glass be able to lift the 4 glasses? Let’s see.

WHAAAAAAT? How is this possible?

Scientific Principle and Application

Question: So, How can just one glass lift such a heavy tray?

Now I know what you might be thinking. Einstein must have glued the glass to the tray. Well, Guess what? I didn’t. So, then how did the glass lift the tray?

Is there some magic happening here? Well, think again, cos magic it’s just science. And this is the science of vacuum. The glass is able to lift the tray by creating a vacuum inside it. So, you see, the glass just pulls the tray like a vacuum cleaner pulls things inside it.

But, what’s Vacuum? Vacuum is a space that has very low amount of matter or no matter at all. Uhh..You know about matter right? Matter is just the stuff that everything is made up of. Like the air around us is made up of tiny little air particles.

So if vacuum has very less matter this means, that our glass has less air particles. But how did we create vacuum inside the glass?

Well…2 simple steps. Follow me

First, I place a wet cloth on the tray and then, a candle on top of it. Notice, Before lighting the candle, a lot of air particles surround the candle. After lighting it, the air particles get heated up, and start running away from each other, leaving only a few air particles around the candle.

And now when I place a glass on top of this candle, only a few air particles get trapped. Now, the oxygen in this trapped air is not enough to keep the flame burning. And so it dies out, and with it, dies the heat. With no heat, the cold wet cloth takes the lead. It has 2 important jobs. Number1 , to block the air from entering or exiting this glass. Number 2, To cool down the air inside. As the air particles get cold, they start shivering and as they shiver they come closer to each other. By coming closer, they contract - leaving an empty space inside this glass.

And yes, you got it. This empty space is actually a vacuum that pulls the tray. But why is vacuum always trying to pull things inside? Well, let me tell you a secret, vacuum isn’t pulling anything , it’s the other things around the vacuum that want to enter and fill the empty space inside. So you see it's just like 2 metro coaches. One that’s crowded with a lot of people, and the other that’s empty. Now naturally, the people from the crowded metro would want to rush into the empty one to relax a little bit. And This is exactly what happens in case of our air particles. The Air around the glass that has more matter tries to enter inside the glass that has less matter . And we know “More matter = More pressure” and “less matter = less pressure”

In this way, air particles try to go from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone. But, our tray and wet cloth do not let this happen. In fact, the air below the tray wants to get inside so badly that it pushes up the tray against the glass. And this is how just one glass is able to lift such a heavy tray. And now you see how similar vacuum lifters are used to carry and place heavy glass windows on tall buildings. In fact, vacuum is so powerful that it can lift hundreds of kgs of metal, glass or wooden sheets in just one go.

Huhh. That’s Supercool! So, friends remember Vacuum may be low on matter, but it’s always high on power.

Now that you know this, it's time for you to explore the power of vacuum on your own. So go grab your things and let’s get funnling.


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