Imploding Pop Can

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In this dramatic activity/demonstration about phase change and condensation, learners place an aluminum can filled with about two tablespoons of water on a stove burner. When steam begins to exit the opening of the can, learners will turn off the stove, pick up the can with an oven mitt and immediately place the can in a bowl of cold water. To everyone's surprise, the can will implode! Note: this activity requires adult supervision. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One aluminum can
  • One oven mitt or other hand protection
  • Some tap water
  • A stovetop burner (electric or gas is OK)
  • One bowl of cold water. The bowl must be able to hold at least 20 ounces of water. Try using a sauce pan that holds a few quarts of water.


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Thermodynamics and Entropy
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Little Shop of Physics, 2009