Shrinking Chip Bags
Create miniature chip bags in your microwave
We can't get our hands on enough stuff to shrink. Faced with the problem of creating tiny chip bags (don't ask, some things are better left alone), we turned to Steve. "I don't know. Throw them in the microwave," was all he had to say. So we tossed a bag in the microwave and now we have this experiment. Is it scientific? Oh you bet your bag of salted potato chips that it's scientific.
- Empty bag of SunChips (Big Grab size)
- Microwave - Get an adult's permission
- Adult supervision
- If you have an empty bag of SunChips lying around, awesome! You can use the empty bag. Skip to step 3.
- If you've got a bag full of SunChips, awesome! Eat the SunChips. You can share if you want, but it isn't necessary to complete the experiment.
- Take the empty bag of SunChips and place it inside of a microwave. STOP! Did you get an adult's permission? If you answered, "Yes," feel free to continue to the next step. If you answered, "No," we'd really feel better if you did.
- Close the microwave door and put it on high power for 5 seconds. Seriously, 5 seconds, and hit start.
- You'll see a tiny bit of sparks and hear a bit of noise from the bag, but don't be alarmed.
- When the 5 seconds of dust settles, you'll have a miniaturized SunChips bag!
- Wait for 30-60 seconds before taking the bag out of the microwave. It's hot!
How does it work?
Shrinking Chip Bag
November 30th, 2011
Click the thumbnail below to see the video.
john - May 3, 2012
It was a really cool experiment to do at my house with my friend, to be honest i was really scared because i had my hand right in the stop button and i could feel some sort of electricity or creepy feeling (or it was just me having great fear) but everything went cool, to give a suggestion, flatten the bag before putting it or else it would just make a unidentified thing :D
Christine S. - December 14, 2011
I wanted to thank you for the Sun Chips bag experiment. My students loved the experiment and really grasped what was happening with the polymers. Our math teacher loved the experiment, too, and had a great idea for using the shrunken bags (see attached)!
Thanks for all of the great experiment ideas. They are a great addition to my science lessons.
Shannyn Snyder - November 30, 2011
I am not sure how good this is for the life of my microwave, but we did the experiment 5 times and really got a kick out of it. We knew that plastic would likely shrink when heated, especially something so thin and made from a polymer, and the spark is from the metallic inner bag. The kids would have done this to a whole case of chips, so I'm glad we only had 5 snack bags around. We have a high powered microwave, so I tried the first bag at 4 seconds just in case, but you for sure need 5 seconds. We video taped our 5th bag which is pretty neat!