2B30.15 Crush the Can with Cold Water


Air pressure


Water in an aluminum pop can is heated on a hot plate. When sufficiently hot, inverting the can and immersing the opening in cold water will cause the can to collapse inwards. Hot water vapour cools very quickly, reducing the gas pressure inside the can, allowing atmospheric pressure to crush it.



  • [1] Pop can
  • [1] Hot plate
  • [1] Large plastic container
  • Water

Safety Equipment

  • [1] Safety glasses
  • [2] Safety glove

Classroom Assembly

  1. Put a small amount of water in the can.
  2. Put the can on the hot plate.
  3. Plug in the hot plate.
  4. Put a lot of water in the plastic container.

Important Notes

  • Be careful around hot objects that can give you burns.
  • Be sure to turn off the hot plate when done.


  1. Put on safety gloves and glasses.
  2. Turn on the hot plate.
  3. When steam comes out of the can, invert the can over the plastic container, careful not to spill hot water on yourself or anything important.
  4. Immerse the opening of the pop can in the water. The can should collapse.
  5. Turn off the hot plate.


Additional Resources


  • PIRA 2B30.15


  • Don't attempt this at home!

Last revised

  • 2018


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If you have any questions about the demos or notes you would like to add to this page, contact Ricky Chu at ricky_chu AT sfu DOT ca.