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Straw through a Potato

logo-goaskmomI am so excited about a new series of videos I’m involved with  on WRAL’s Go Ask Mom!  While being interviewed about Fort Kits, we started discussing my science background.  One thing led to another and before I knew it I was poking holes through a potato with a straw!

14292395-1418931899-640x360Some people I’ve talked to have asked for a better explanation of the science so here you go.

The secret is in the straw – the air in the straw that is.

A plastic straw is pretty weak.  If you try to jam into the potato (without covering the end of the straw), you will notice it bend and possibly break before it even pierces the skin.

By putting your thumb over the straw, and trapping the air inside, you strengthen the straw so that it can’t bend.  The rigid straw is now strong enough to push all the way through the potato.  And as the straw goes through the potato it just gets stronger – the air inside is compressed when the other end fills up with potato!

Just watch out that your hand isn’t on the other side or the potato won’t be the only thing with a hole!

Update: Someone asked me about using this in a science fair project. You can make just about anything into a science fair project! Try straws made of different materials – maybe different weights of paper (copy paper, card stock) or different thickness (roll your own). Try other objects besides potatoes (apples, onions, carrots…). Just pick a variable and go with it!