The Water Pressure Behemoth

Steve Kiser, Scott Nusz, Lisa Retrum

Our science project is called "The Water Pressure Behemoth". From an initial glance, one can see why it was given this title. Standing over eight feet in height, our structure demands attention. Complex in its construction, simple in its scientific content, our exhibit is a joy for all age groups. The basic principle that we are demonstrating is pressure--more specifically, water pressure. The operation of our exhibit is simple. The user flips a switch to pump water into the seven-foot pipe, and drains the water by turning a faucet. Attached inside the pipe is an IV sac, tied at the base, and connected to a long tube that extends the length of the pipe. The sac is filled with water that has been dyed red; hence we usually refer to the sac as the "blood bladder". Fixed at the base of the structure is a halogen lamp that shines up through the base of the pipe, illuminating the blood bladder and the inside of the pipe. As water fills the pipe, pressure near the bottom increases, consequently exerting force on the blood bladder and causing its contents to rise the length of the tube. This rising of the liquid is a physical demonstration of the scientific concept of pressure. In addition, a cricket is enclosed in a transparent spherical piece of plastic that floats on the surface of the water. This cricket, in theory, measures the height of the water and sends this information via infrared to another cricket which computes the pressure felt by the IV sac and outputs the pressure (in PSI) to a gauge at the base of the pipe.