Weird Science: The power of Air Pressure

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- Dr.V is back along with Taizo Braden to show the power of air pressure. A very fun experiment that almost took out our camera and entertainment report Byron Furukawa.

Dr. V Show: Amazing Air Pressure

Things you need:

  • Newspaper
  • Paint stirring sticks
  • Hammer


The experiment

Please perform this and all experiments under the supervision and with the assistance of an adult. Place the paint stick on the edge of the table so that four or five inches hang out past the edge. Make sure no one is close to you or directly in front of the paint stick. Standing on the side of the paint stick, using either your hand or the hammer, strike the end of the stick, taking care not to strike the table. What happens to the stick? Put the stick back on the table and flatten a sheet of newspaper out over the part of the stick that's on the table. Make sure you take all the air out from under the paper. Now try hitting the end of the stick again, either with your hand or with the hammer. What happens to the stick?


How does it work?

What should happen when you have the paper on your stick is that the paper is able to hold the stick down, almost as if someone were holding the stick down. If you hit it hard enough, you may even be able to break it! How is a single, thin sheet of newspaper able to hold down the stick as you hit it? You may not realize it, but you are under a lot of pressure, air pressure, or atmospheric pressure. At sea level, which most of Hawaii is at, the Earth's atmosphere is pressing against every square inch of you with a force of 14.7 pounds per square inch! Therefore, the air pressing down on the newspaper is greater than a ton!

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