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Introduces relationship between changes in volume due to applied pressure

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The Shrinking Cup

How can you shrink a cup?

License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Compressibility is a measure of the change in volume of a fluid or solid in response to a change in pressure. One way we can further investigate compressibility is by investigating a pressure cooker experiment.  A pressure cooker is used to quickly cook food by increasing pressure and temperature and thus cook the food quickly. In this experiment, we see what pressure cookers can do to objects other than food!

Creative Applications

  1. What causes the Styrofoam cup to shrink?
  2. Do you think a paper cup will also shrink?
  3. What happens to the Styrofoam cup when you first put it in the pressure cooker?
  4. What would happen if you left the cup in the pressure cooker for a long time?
  5. Why is it important to release a small amount of pressure as the cooker works?



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