Soda Pop Can Hero Engine
Newton's Laws of Motion
streaming through holes in the bottom of a suspended soda pop can causes
the can to rotate.
BY: Tom Clausen, KSC Explorations Station
EDITED BY: Roger Storm, NASA Glenn Research Center
- Empty soda pop
can with the opener lever intact
- Nail or ice pick
- Fishing line
- Bucket or tub
- Lay the pop can
on its side and using the nail or ice pick carefully punch four equally
spaced small holes just above and around the bottom rim. Then before
removing the punching tool for each hole, push the tool to the right
(parallel to the rim) so that the hole is slanted in that direction.
- Bend the can's
opener lever straight up and tie a short length of fishing line to it.
- Immerse the can
in water until it is filled. Pull the can out by the fishing line. Water
streams will start the can spinning.
- If the can does
not spin try making the holes larger or adding a fishing swivel to the
string above the can.
The Soda Pop Can Hero Engine is an excellent demonstration of Newton's
Laws of Motion. The can rotates because a force is exerted by the flowing
water (1 st. Law). The rate of rotation will vary with different numbers
of holes and different diameters of holes in the can (2nd. Law). Try two
holes and try a can with large holes verses a can with small holes. The
can rotates in the opposite direction from the direction of the water
streams (3rd. Law).