Science with Shields: Episode #96 – Cold Air Shrinks

Science with Shields

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how to use cold air to shrink a balloon!

What you need: 

  1. Balloon
  2. Freezer
  3. Measuring Tape
  4. Safety goggles


Put on your safety goggles first. Next, blow up your balloon and then tie off the balloon. You will then want to measure the circumference of your balloon. In our demonstration we got a circumference around 21 inches. Now put your balloon into the freezer for 20 minutes or even longer. The longer it is in the freezer, the better the results. After time has passed, take the balloon out of the freezer and measure. The balloon should be smaller! We measured and got a circumference of 20 inches!


The balloon shrinks in the freezer because you are cooling the air molecules inside the balloon. When the air molecules are colder, they become smaller and denser, taking up less space. When the balloon is warm, the air molecules are less dense and take up more space making the balloon expand.

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