Demos & Experiments
About the experiments
These demonstrations and experiments can be performed with a relatively simple and inexpensive vacuum system...a system that can be found in many high school science departments. It's use, however, need not be limited to the high school level, but could also benefit science education at all levels. For example, a second grade teacher might use it to excite students about the world of science (blowing up a balloon or marshmallow in vacuum). A seventh grade science teacher might find it very useful in demonstrating a scientific principle (gravity and air resistance with a falling feather). Or an advanced high school physics student could use it to perform a laboratory experiment (determination of the size of a gas molecule from thermal conductivity).
Please read before downloading experiments
Permission is granted to individual teachers to reproduce the activities and figures in this workbook for classroom use only. The activities described in this workbook are intended for science demonstrations in middle and secondary schools under the direct supervision of qualified teachers. AVS cannot be responsible for any accidents that may result from conducting the activities without proper supervision, from not specifically following directions, or from ignoring the cautions contained in the text.
Falling Feather demonstration
Galileo Galilei concluded from a series of experiments that all objects, irrespective of their masses, dropped simultaneously from the same height, would hit the ground at the same time. However, when a feather and a heavier object like a piece of metal are dropped, the feather's rate of descent is slowed by air resistance. If the air is removed, the feather and the metal will fall at the same rate.
Otto von Guericke's Magdeburg Hemisphere Experiment
Drawing of a Vacuum System
Try an Advanced Experiment!
Units of Pressure Chart