Mr. Russell’s Classroom: The Silent Pop

Mr. Russell is taking a couple of days off. So J-Stace the Science Ace stepped in as the substitute. In today’s science lesson, he shows us how to pop a balloon without bursting it!

What You Need

  • A Balloon
  • 2 pieces of tape, each about 2 inches in length
  • A small needle or push pin


  1. Blow up a balloon.
  2. Use the two pieces of tape to make an “X” on your balloon.
  3. Carefully, push the needle through the middle of your “X”.
  4. Leave the needle in and see how long it takes your balloon to pop.

Science Behind the Experiment

How Does the Experiment Work?

What causes a balloon to pop is called catastrophic crack propagation. This really complicated-sounding phrase means that the hole in the balloon widening is what makes it pop, not the fact that air is slowly being let out.

When the balloon’s hole gets bigger, it rips, and eventually the balloon pops. In this experiment, the tape slows down this process.


Science Words of the Day

Fracture mechanics is a methodology that is used to predict and diagnose the failure of a part with an existing crack or flaw.



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