10B10.50 - Pop a Balloon
Black balloons from Hobby Lobby work best for this experiment. Blow up one of the balloons. Adjust the top plate of the frame work so that the balloon is held firmly between the top and 2nd plate. It is critical that the balloon is not able to move. Turn on the laser and the balloon should immediately pop.
You can pop a black balloon that has been placed inside a clear balloon to show selective absorption.
NOTE: The laser will put out maximum power for about 5 seconds after it is turned on. After that, power will decrease so dramatically that you will not be able to pop the balloons. So, if the balloon does not pop right away you need to turn off the laser, reposition the balloon, and try again. DO NOT try to pop the balloon by pointing the laser at the thicker part around the neck.
- E. Y. Lukianova-Hleb et al., "Diagnosing Malaria Using Light and Sound", Physics Today, March 2014, p. 21.
- Julien Clinton Sprott, "6.3, Laser Gun", Physics Demonstrations - A Sourcebook for Teachers of Physics, p. 238.
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