Steve Spangler Science

Heartbleed Security Vulnerability Fixed   •   Get 2 Free Sick Science! Kits   •   Free Experiments by Email

On Monday we learned about a vulnerability in the encryption technology that effects most of the internet, called Heartbleed. Our team grabbed their lab coats and leaped into action to patch the vulnerability on our site.

We are happy to announce SteveSpanglerScience.com is no longer vulnerable.

While we believe we have kept out all the bad guys, we want to make sure our customer's information is safe. We are requiring that all of our customers change their password for their accounts on SteveSpanglerScience.com.

To do so, click the link below and enter in the email address associated with your account. Once you receive an email to that account, follow the simple instructions to reset your password.

Reset your password - https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/customer/account/forgotpassword/

If you have any questions on password resetting, please call our Customer Service team and they will be happy to help you. 1-800-223-9080

If you have any questions about the vulnerability please email security@SteveSpangler.com

As this did effect most of the internet, we also recommend that you change your passwords on all of the websites you visit.

Thank you for being an amazing customer!

-- The SteveSpanglerScience.com Team

Questions? Give us a Call: 1-800-223-9080

The Leak-Proof Bag - Science Trick

Polymer chains work together to prevent water from leaking out of a bag.

Rating: 54321

Submit A Review

Quick, call a plumber… we've sprung a leak! Hopefully this isn't a phrase heard very often in your house, but when you tell people that you'll be putting pencils through a water-filled bag, that might be another story. With the Leak-Proof Bag experiment, we'll show you how you can stick a bunch of pencils right through a bag of water without spraying water all of the kitchen table. The secret isn't sorcery, it's just the chemistry of polymers.

Materials
  • Sharpened pencils
  • Zipper-lock plastic bags
  • Water
  • Paper towels

Videos

  • Leak-Proof Bag - Sick Science! - #123
Print Experiment

Experiment

Before we let you loose on demonstrating this experiment for an audience, it would probably be best to practice this over a sink, outside, or at a friend's house. Just don't make Mom mad by allowing her to come home to water puddles in the living room.

  1. If you have your pencils, make sure they are sharpened to a point. The sharper, the better. If they're already sharpened… shucks… move to step 2!
  2. Fill a zipper-lock bag between 1/2 and 3/4-full with water. Cold, warm… it doesn't particularly matter.
  3. Now for the fun part, ask your audience what would happen if you tried to push one of these pencils through the water-filled bag? Odds are that you'll have more than one look of fear or skepticism. You might even have some people running for their ponchos and galoshes.
  4. Here comes the real scary part! Hold the pencil in one hand and the top of the bag in your other hand. Slowly, but firmly, push one of the sharpened pencils through one side of the bag. Weird… no water came gushing out!
  5. Push the pencil through the other side of the bag, too. Nothing happens. Sweet!

    NOTE: Do not, I repeat, do not push the pencil all the way through either side of the bag. As soon as the eraser gets past the bag, you'll have a big, wet mess on your hands… er… floors.
     
  6. From here, you can keep demonstrating your science "spear-it" by repeating this feat with the other sharpened pencils!
  7. Once you're finished, hold the bag over a sink and remove the pencils. The water will come pouring out of the holes.

Take It Further!

What other items do you think would work for this demonstration? Try using sharpened barbecue skewers with a zipper-lock bag. Another option is to try using a water-filled grocery bag. What materials work? Which materials leak?

How Does It Work?

Despite what it looks like, the zipper-lock bag isn't covered in a magical sealant that blocks leaks. Well… not exactly. Plastic bags like these are made out of our favorite kind of materials, polymers! Polymers are long chains of individual molecules, called monomers. (See that? Mono = one. Poly = many. Mers = molecules.) When you puncture these bags with a sharpened pencil, you're essentially separating polymer chains without breaking them. The long chains of molecules than squeeze in tight around the surface of the pencil preventing any sort of leak. Polymers continue to prove an indispensable part of life.

Customer Reviews

Awesome over assistant principals's head Review by Michelle
54321

I have done this experiment several times but the moat recent time I did this was at a science night for our school and I asked the assistant principal to assist. He sat in a chair and I pierced the bag with several pencils over his head. Not a single leak. (although all the kids were hoping for some leakage). It was great fun and he was a great sport for being part of the experiment.

(Posted on December 27, 2012)

cooolllll Review by ashley
54321

i actually found this experiment pretty cool!!!!

(Posted on November 11, 2010)

Quick and Easy Review by Rachel
54321

This experiment is fabulous because it is a quick and easy way to pique the students' interest in science and the scientific method. Imgoing to do this as our first science lesson (third grade) to prove that 1) science is fun 2)Its good to make hypothesis and its ok to be wrong 3)have an opened mind in science and in learning. (plus we can introduce science words)

(Posted on August 15, 2012)

Write Your Own Review


You're reviewing: The Leak-Proof Bag - Science Trick


How do you rate this experiment? *
1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars