AccuWeather did a science experiment in a Google Hangout on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at 1 p.m. EST, as part of DeSTEMber 2012.
DeSTEMber 2012 is an initiative created by Girlstart, whose mission is to empower girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Wednesday's hangout is part of a month-long series of activities, which can be viewed at destember.org and on the Girlstart and Google Science Fair Google+ pages.
The following provides details on the experiment that AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Meghan Evans performed in Wednesday's Google Hangout. The experiment teaches lessons about air pressure.
Equipment: matches, a peeled hard-boiled egg, a glass bottle (glass milk bottles and carafes work well) and a paper towel.
Light a few matches and drop them in the bottle with the paper towel inside. Then, place the egg in the opening of the bottle.
The egg gets sucked into the bottle because of a change in air pressure from introducing the lit matches. The air inside the bottle is warmed, causing it to expand. Some of the air is released from the bottle.
With air being released, the air pressure is now lower inside the bottle. Since the air pressure is lower in the bottle compared to outside of the bottle, air forces the egg to squeeze in.
To remove the egg, blow in the bottle, forcing more air into the bottle and creating a higher pressure. To try to balance the pressure out, air inside the bottle will try to escape and the egg will slide out.
More on Air Pressure
Air pressure is the force or weight of air pushing down over an area.
Changes in air pressure in the atmosphere work in a similar way to this experiment, causing the wind to blow. Air always flows from higher to lower pressure, since the atmosphere is constantly trying to reach a balance or equilibrium.
When there is a large difference in air pressure over a small distance, strong winds blow.
Meteorologists analyze air pressure to help forecast the weather.
Areas of low pressure are associated with rising air, because there is less force of the air on the ground. To simplify, the rising air causes instability, cloud development and unsettled weather.
Areas of high pressure are associated with sinking air, so the force of air is greater over a given area. The sinking air promotes dry and calm weather.
Content contributed by AccuWeather Meteorologist Meghan Evans.
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