This is probably the simplest, yet just as fascinating balloon experiment that I have discovered yet! The best part is that you only need a couple of supplies to perform this mind-blowing Unpoppable Balloon Experiment.
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There are many ways to make a balloon unpoppable, but this one is all about knowing where to stab a balloon in the right spot without it exploding in your face!
Unpoppable Balloon Experiment
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How to poke a hole in a balloon without popping it
- Air up a large balloon and tie it off
- Use a skewer to poke the side of the balloon and pop it
- Fill up another balloon and poke a skewer through the top of the balloon all the way through the bottom
- Pull the skewer out of the balloon and watch what happens
Step 1: Inflate a balloon with air
This is probably the simplest and easiest step of this unpoppable balloon experiment! All you need to do is grab an empty balloon, put your mouth on the end of it and blow some of your hot air into it. Oh and don’t forget to tie it off so that it stays inflated!
If you are using large balloons, then it is important to put quite a bit of air into the balloon. This will help the latex stretch and make it easier to pop in the experiment.
Step 2: Grab a long BBQ skewer and pop the balloon!
Wait a minute…you are probably wondering why I am am telling you to pop the balloon when this experiment is about making a balloon unpoppable right!?
The real trick to this experiment is more about the location that you poke the balloon with the skewer, rather than what you poke it with. So go ahead and put those safety goggles on and let’s get ready to see how we can pop this balloon with a skewer!
Hold the balloon out in front of you with one hand, or set it on a table in front of you while using the other hand to quickly jab the side of the balloon with your sharp and pointy skewer!
The balloon should quickly burst into pieces and a shockwave of pressurized balloon air will quickly escape and create a gust of wind in your face! Not much of anything you didn’t expect in this step right!? Now let’s try it again with a different twist.
Step 3: Fill a second balloon up with air and poke it from the top with a skewer
Okay, so now we know that a balloon will typically pop when it is poked by something sharp like a BBQ skewer right!? But what about if we try to poke it with the same skewer, but in a different spot on the balloon?
Let’s fill up another balloon and see if we can poke it with a skewer this time without it popping! Once your balloon is full with air and tied off, grab your pointy skewer and keep those safety goggles on just in case!
This time we are going to begin poking the skewer into the balloon right at the top where the balloon is tied off. The trick here is to find an area with a little extra and thicker material at the top and begin pushing the skewer into the balloon.
If all goes well, the skewer should poke right through the top of the balloon without the balloon popping this time! If you are really brave and your skewer is long enough you can push your skewer all the way through the balloon and poke a new hole in the bottom of the balloon.
Your balloon should now look something like a vegetable or piece of meat on a shish kabob with the skewer going right through it…and somehow it hasn’t popped yet!!!
Step 4: Slowly pull the skewer out of the balloon to see what happens
After you have enjoyed a chance to make sure your eyes are not playing tricks on you and that your balloon is really still inflated with a skewer going through it, slowly pull the skewer back out of the balloon.
Don’t worry, as long as you pull the skewer out very slowly and gently, the balloon should not pop in your face!
Once the skewer has been pulled all the way out of the balloon there will be a hole in the bottom and a hole in the top of the balloon from where the skewer was. These holes will allow air to escape and your balloon will gradually deflate, but it should not pop.
Balloon Skewer Experiment Explanation
The reason that the balloon will pop when poked with a skewer from the side and that it won’t pop when poked through the top (tie) and the bottom (nubbin) of the balloon is because of the thickness of the latex rubber in those locations.
In other words, latex rubber balloons are made of tiny molecules called polymers that link together and stretch as the balloon is aired up and expands. The polymer links are stretched out and thinner around the circumference (side) of the balloon, while they are looser and more flexible at the top and bottom.
Since the material is stretched so thin on the side of the balloon when the skewer pokes a hole in the balloon the air pressure in the balloon is stronger than the thin, weakened latex rubber and the balloon will burst.
On the other hand, at the top (tie) of the balloon and at the bottom (nubbin) of the balloon the thicker, looser latex rubber is strong enough and flexible enough to stretch around the skewer and when a hole is created it will keep the balloon inflated.
Try this variable:
With one extra step in this unpoppable balloon experiment, you can actually prevent the balloon from popping when poked from the side too! All you need to do is put a piece of tape on the side of the balloon and poke the skewer through the tape and into the balloon.
The tape will act as a reinforcement to the thin latex on the side of the balloon. This will help the latex to have extra support and behave similarly to the top and bottom areas of the balloon where the material is strong enough to resist popping.