Science with Shields: Episode #85- Balancing card and pennies


ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields explains surface tension with balancing a card and pennies.

What you need: 

  1. Pennies
  2. Playing Cards
  3. Glass
  4. Water


Balance the playing card on the top of your glass. Try to put a penny on the one side of the card, watch how it falls off the glass due to the weight of the penny. Now, put the card back onto the glass and pour water the whole way to the very top of the glass. Next, you will want to stack a penny onto the side of the card. Watch how you can stack multiple pennies onto the card without it falling off!


You can stack the pennies when the glass is full because of surface tension. Water molecules are attracted to other water molecules. These water molecules will all bond together at the top of your glass. This surface tension helps to balance the side of the card, allowing you to stack pennies on the other side. Eventually, the weight of the pennies will break the surface tension and the card will flip off the glass. See how many cards you can stack before the card falls off! We were able to stack 5 pennies on the side. Make sure to let us know how many you were able to stack by emailing us or using the #sciencewithshields

Check out more Science with Shields episodes on WTAJ Plus.

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