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Cool Hot Rod

Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

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Cool Hot Rod

If you have access to a copper metal tube, this activity does a great job demonstrating what happens to matter when it's heated or cooled. This activity requires some lab equipment.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Three to six feet (1 to 2 meters) of straight 1/4-inch (6-millimeter) copper tubing
  • Small funnel
  • A four-inch (10-centimeter) length of plastic tubing that will fit snugly over the end of the copper tubing and over the end of the funnel
  • Ring stand
  • A table
  • Two small blocks of smooth wood
  • A C-clamp
  • Large needle
  • Toothpick
  • Bucket
  • Very hot tap water
  • Cold water
  • Optional: Microscope slide, rubber band


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access