How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
A quick, easy tutorial on how to get an egg through a bottleneck and into a bottle--a classic, wow your friends science experiment.

Bottom line, science is cool. It's got the wow factor of magic and the additional bonus in that it helps us explore the world around us. This experiment is no exception. Amaze your kids and friends. Then seize the opportunity to explain the magic behind it. :D

Step 1: Things You'll Need

You'll need the following for this experiment:
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Glass Jar or Bottle*
  • Matches

  • Optional Method 2 (step 7) additional ingredients:
  • Optional Method 2: Boiling Water
  • *NOTE: Before carrying out this experiment, you'll want to make sure you pick the right jar/bottle. Ideally, the opening of your jar/bottle should be larger than half of the diameter of the egg, and smaller than the diameter of the egg (so that it doesn't slip through!). If you're unsure, do a quick visual test by placing your hard boiled egg on top the opening.

    Step 2: Safety First

    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    Put on those safety glasses. Check your surroundings and make sure they are clear of any flammable items.

    This is also a great time to peel your eggs if you haven't done so yet.

    Step 3: Light Your Matches

    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    Check your surroundings and make sure you have nothing flammable in the area. Strike and light three matches. Let them burn for a second before gently dropping them into the bottom of your jar/bottle.

    NOTE: The lighting of a match should be performed by an adult or supervised by an adult. According to the Kid's Health site, matches are still the leading cause of fire related injuries and death among young children.

    Step 4: Add Your Egg

    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    Your matches should extinguish pretty quickly so you've got to work fast. After your matches have been dropped in, place your egg on top of the opening to your jar/bottle with it's skinny end facing down.

    Step 5: Watch the Magic

    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    Your egg will settle and create a seal with the glass jar. Once sealed, the matches will run out of oxygen and extinguish. As the air inside the bottle cools, it will condense (you can see the gas cloud forming!). As it condenses, the pressure exerted on the egg from the inside of the bottle will decrease. There has been no change on the outside of the bottle and the egg, the pressure from the outside on the egg is still the same. The pressure outside is also now stronger, pushing the egg into the bottle. You can watch the pressure change as the egg deforms and gets sucked into the bottle.

    Step 6: Ta Da!

    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    You've got yourself an egg in a bottle. Show and wow your kids and friends.

    Step 7: Optional Method #2

    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    How To: Get an Egg Through a Bottleneck
    If you'd like to avoid the matches and fire, you can recreate the same experiment with boiling water.
  • Boil some water in your kettle or in a pot (kettles make it easier to pour later!)
  • Pour boiling water into the bottom of your bottle/jar.
  • Place your inverted egg (small side down) on top of your bottle/jar
  • Wait for the magic! :D
  • Step 8: Removing the Egg

    Option 1: Simply invert your bottle/jar so that the egg has repositioned itself at the opening. Run hot water over the back of the bottle until the air inside has had a chance to heat up. The gas inside will expand and push the egg out.

    Option 2: Carefully stick an object with a blunt end into your bottle. Break up the egg and shake it out--gently.

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