Skewer a balloon science activity | Fizzics Education

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# Skewer a balloon

You will need:

• A sharp wooden skewer.
• A balloon filled with air.

1

Blow up a balloon – make sure that you don’t blow it up too large.

Tie the end of the balloon.

2

Holding the balloon at the tied end, carefully push the wooden skewer through the opposite side. You should push the skewer through the centre of the darkest part of the end of the balloon, i.e. where the balloon is least stretched, opposite the tied end. You may have to try it a few times to get it right but with practice, you should be able to get the skewer through most times.

3

Now push the skewer through to the tied end of the balloon and gently push the skewer point all the way through. Show it to your class, they’ll love it!

4

Now, they have to work out why you can do it!

5

#### Get the Unit of Work on Forces here!

• Push, pull
• Friction & spin!

From inertia to centripetal force, this unit covers many concepts about Newton’s Laws!

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### Why Does This Happen?

There are areas of the balloon that are more stretched than others.

If you try to pierce the balloon from the side, where it is most stretched, the balloon rubber will tear itself apart due to the elastic tension over the rubber. It is best to pierce the balloon from the bottom, or top, where the rubber has less elastic tension. The rubber itself will grip onto the skewer due to friction.

This is a great way to show that science can be found in sorts of places, even in sideshow acts where a magician uses ‘magic’ to get a skewer through a balloon.

### Variables to test

• Try different types of balloons. Can you do this with the cheaper, thinner balloons?
• Try different types of skewers of different widths.