Student Features

Pressure and Bendability
Student Section

Materials:
  • Two long balloons
  • Three heavy-duty rubber bands
Procedure:
Illustration of a long inflated balloon being bent in the center into an L-shape, with an arrow at each end of the balloon emphasizing the bending motion
  1. Inflate a long balloon and tie it off. The balloon represents the pressure bladder of a space suit arm.

  2. Try to bend the balloon in the middle. Is it easy or difficult? Describe your observations on a separate sheet of paper.
Image to right: This shows how the balloon looks after it has been bent in the middle. Credit: NASA

  1. Inflate a second long balloon. As you are inflating the balloon, have one of your partners slip heavy-duty rubber bands over the balloon 10 or 12 centimeters (cm) apart. This is easier if the balloon is already partially inflated.

  2. Continue inflating the balloon until the rubber bands pinch the balloon. You may have to double the rubber band to pinch the balloon enough.

  3. Tie off the balloon when it is properly inflated.

  4. Try to bend this balloon. Is it easier or more difficult than the first balloon? Describe your observations on a separate sheet of paper.
Illustration of a long inflated balloon being bent in 4 segments with an arrow at each end of the balloon emphasizing the bending motion
Image to left: This shows how the balloon looks after three rubber bands have been tightened around it. Credit: NASA