MadSci Network: Engineering

Subject: Why did my bottle explode?

Date: Fri Dec 23 12:53:46 2005
Posted by selden
Grade level: 10-12 School: cate school
City: carpinteria State/Province: ca Country: usa
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 1135367626.Eg

I am an English teacher but like to talk science sometimes.  Some years ago, I had an air-pump wine 
bottle opener that with a needle into the cork pumped air into the bottle and popped the cork out.  I 
liked using it because it was innovative and very cool.  Once, I used it on a triangular-shaped bottle of 
sangria from Spain and the bottle exploded, which in retrospect seemed logical, and I learned a lesson: 
"science is everywhere," my scientist colleague used to say.  Recently, I got in a rather in-depth 
argument with one of my students.  We both agreed that the non-circular bottle shape caused the 
problem, and would every time.  I said the bottle exploded because the triangular shape caused there 
to be different pressure at different points on the bottle surface area.  He said that pressure was 
distributed equally to all points by the liquid, but the bottle exploded because the glass at different 
points was weaker than at others.  Who was right?

Selden Edwards

Re: Why did my bottle explode?

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