This activity has been provided by STEAMfest sponsor MEL Science!”
If you try to balance an empty or full can at an angle, you’ll find that you can’t. The can’s center of mass projection extends beyond the boundaries formed by the two support points.
“Center of mass” is a point characterizing the movement of an object or system of objects as a whole. An object always strives to occupy a position where its center of mass is lower. A can rests solidly on a table and is in stable equilibrium if the hypothetical vertical line that can be drawn through its center of mass falls between its fulcrum points. If this is not the case, the can will fall. The can’s center of mass shifts with the addition of water. If the water level is such that the projection of the can’s center of mass falls between its support points, then the can won’t fall.
- What kind of beverage can did you use?
- Were you able to balance it on edge?
- Does changing the level of beverage in the can change the balance point?
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