Sucking an egg into a bottle

Here's an interesting experiment. We guarantee you'll be talking about this one at school the next day.


1. Find a bottle with a long, narrow neck and set it on the table (an apple cider jug works well)

2. Boil and peel a egg.

3. Have Mom or Dad drop 3 lit matches into the bottle.

4. Quickly place the egg over the mouth of the bottle.

What happens? The lit match heats the air inside the bottle. When air is heated it expands (and takes up more room). As the heated air expands, some of it escapes out of the bottle. When the matches go out, the air inside the bottle cools and contracts (and takes up less room), thus creating a lower pressure inside the bottle than outside. The greater pressure outside the bottle forces the egg into the bottle.

Parent's Note: Expansion is an increase in the size of a body without the addition of material to the body. Most solids and liquids expand when they are heated and contract when they are cooled. Gases also expand when they are heated at a constant pressure. If a gas is heated in a container that prevents expansion, the pressure of the gas increases (see How gases behave; Gas laws).

Heat causes expansion because it increases the vibrations of a material's atoms or molecules. In a gas, heat also increases the speed at which the atoms or molecules move about. The increased movement forces the atoms or molecules farther apart and the body becomes larger.

Note: To get the egg back out of the bottle, simply tilt the bottle and blow air into it. Get out of the way - the egg will shoot out!


This experiment was taken from Reeko's Mad Scientist Page located at is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.