Why Does the Water Rise?

Can you make the water rise inside the bottle? With a little scientific knowledge about air and air pressure, you can. This demonstration on the news even brought a surprise for me. In all my years of doing this activity, I’ve never had anything like this occur. Watch the video to find out what happened.

This experiment requires a match and flame, so parental supervision is a must. Take a candle and place it in a pie pan filled with water. Light the candle and cover it with a flask or bottle. The candle needs oxygen to burn. When you cover the burning candle, the flame eventually goes out as soon as all of the oxygen is used up. Since there is no more oxygen under the jar, the rest of the gases (nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, and others) exert less pressure than the atmospheric air. The greater atmospheric pressure on the outside of the bottle pushes the water in the pan up into the bottle. For complete instructions and explanations on how this experiment works, visit the Experiment page.

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