Some things in this world just don\'t mix - dogs and cats, oil and water, needles and balloons. Everyone knows that a balloon\'s worst fear is a sharp object...even a sharpened, wooden cooking skewer. With a little scientific knowledge about polymers you\'ll be able to perform a seemingly... Show More >>Some things in this world just don\'t mix - dogs and cats, oil and water, needles and balloons. Everyone knows that a balloon\'s worst fear is a sharp object...even a sharpened, wooden cooking skewer. With a little scientific knowledge about polymers you\'ll be able to perform a seemingly impossible task... pierce a balloon with a wooden skewer without popping it. Suddenly piercing takes on a whole new meaning!
How Does it Work?
The secret is to uncover the portion of the balloon where the latex molecules are under the least amount of stress or strain.
If you could see the rubber that makes up a balloon on a microscopic level, you would see many long strands or chains of molecules. These long strands of molecules are called polymers, and the elasticity of these polymer chains causes rubber to stretch. Blowing up the balloon stretches these strands of polymer chains. Even before drawing the dots on the balloon, you probably noticed that the middle of the balloon stretches more than either end. You wisely chose to pierce the balloon at a point where the polymer molecules were stretched out the least. The long strands of molecules stretched around the skewer and kept the air inside the balloon from rushing out. It’s easy to accidentally tear the rubber if you use a dull skewer or forget to coat the end of the skewer with vegetable oil. When you remove the skewer, you feel the air leaking out through the holes where the polymer strands were pushed apart. Eventually the balloon deflates… but it never pops.
Oh, just to prove your point, try pushing the skewer through the middle part of an inflated balloon. Well, at least you went out with a bang! Show Less >>
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