In this science experiment we will explore the laws of inertia, centripetal force, and friction. In the
process we will make a really cool balloon with a penny that spins and races around the inside!
Materials For Balloon Penny Spinner:
- Latex Balloon (clear works best)
Watch The Balloon Penny Spinner Video:
Process for Balloon Penny Spinner:
1) Insert the penny into the balloon.
2) Blow up and inflate the balloon with penny inside.
3) Tie off the balloon.
4) Grab the balloon by the top and begin to swirl the balloon in a circular motion.
5) Watch in amazement as races around the inside like lightning!
The Science Behind Balloon Penny Spinner
The penny spins rapidly against the inside of the balloon due to centripetal force. It races around in
circles because the centripetal force generates an inward pull on the penny against the inner wall
of the balloon. The law of inertia keeps the penny rotating inside the balloon in a circular manner.
Inertia says a body in motion (penny) will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. If you
stop spinning the balloon the force of gravity will eventually stop the penny from spinning in a
circular motion. The friction between the balloon and penny is so small that it has little effect on
slowing down the penny.
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