Scientists and Watermelons
2014-06-23 20:04:52.000 – Arielle Ahrens, Summit Intern
Last night we exploded a watermelon. This is what happens when you have a bunch of scientists and an idea. During one of the first tours I experienced this summer, we had a visitor that informed us of an experiment where you put rubber bands around the center of a watermelon and the pressure from the bands causes the watermelon to burst. We were a bit skeptical at first, but after watching several YouTube videos, we knew we had to try it!
We acquired a watermelon from the valley, rubber bands of assorted size and color from the office supply closet, and safety goggles to protect from watermelon debris. We set the experiment up outside with the watermelon held upright by a cinder block and proceeded to put the rubber bands around the watermelon until we either (a) ran out of rubber bands or (b) it burst.
We ended up running out of rubber bands and the watermelon did not explode on its own, but it was bulging in some places and juice was starting to ooze out of the rind. We ended up lifting the watermelon up off the cinder block and dropping it to see if that would work. Sure enough, the pressure allowed the watermelon to burst when it came into contact with the concrete and we were all able to enjoy a piece of the watermelon.
We used a very small, almost spherical watermelon and that may have been one reason why it didn’t burst. When we try again, we will be using a longer watermelon and more uniform-sized bands placed closer to the center.
Arielle Ahrens, Summit Intern