Friday, September 2, 2011

13 - Boil Water in a Paper Cup

We attempted to boil water in a paper cup. Sounds ridiculous (and dangerous) right? The book recommended doing this activity with a true paper cup or an origami box. We picked an origami box, which was a hard enough feat, making all those folds and getting them in the right places.

With Gavin, is his cousin, who is making herself a pair of duck tape shoes.
We followed the directions meticulously and read the science behind why you would be able to get water to boil in a paper cup. Only, it didn't work out for us :(

The first box leaked alot. The browning on the top of the box was expected, in fact, the book stated that it may even go on fire. It suggested using the shiniest paper you had available (higher clay content) and so our second box was made from magzine paper.

The second box leaked faster and more furiously. We noted that the water was really hot and just about boiling. But not quite. Maybe we will experiment with it another time.

Dangerous? Absolutely! I asked the boys to stand back as I was concerned about the flopping open and the hot water scalding them. The book made it clear that it was fine to allow the top of the box to burn since it would be stopped by the water in the cup - definately 'dangerous' stuff!


  1. My cousin did a variation on this when we were kids. Filled an empty milk carton (they were waxed then, not plasicked) about 1/4 full of water, set it in the middle of the kitchen floor, lit the top, and called my mom to come in and see. The water would put out the fire before it did any damage, but my mom didn't know that.