The egg in a bottle experiment is a scientific classic that will fascinate kids and teach them about heat and air density. When molecules heat up – in the presence of a flame, for example – they tend to move away from each other. When they cool back down, they move closer, causing what scientists call a “partial vacuum.” This experiment uses the partial vacuum effect to pull an egg through the opening of the bottle, even though it seems too big to fit. Try it out for yourself!
Hard-boiled egg, shelled
Glass bottle with a large opening (such as a large beaker)
A lighter or box of matches
Small strips of paper (about half the size of a standard post-it)
Scissors (for cutting paper)
Small birthday candles
Stand the bottle or beaker right side up on a hard surface.
Using the matches or lighter, light the end of a small strip of paper and quickly toss it in the bottle.
While the paper is still burning, place the egg at the opening of the bottle. Watch as the egg gets sucked into the bottle.
Now try the experiment using birthday candles. Take three candles and stick the non-wick ends into the egg in a cluster formation.
Have a partner hold the beaker or bottle upside down. Light all three candles, and, while holding the bottom of the egg, insert the flamed ends into the opening of the bottle. Watch as the egg gets sucked up into the bottle.