On a recent steam train trip my daughter said to me:
Daddy, I'd like to pull that steam engine apart and see how it works.
Now there are two parts to her question - and I'm only make this physics question about one of them:
- How do you learn about pistons driving wheels?
- How do you learn about heating water to create pressure?
Now I don't want to just draw a picture or show her a video. I want something tactile, that she can experiment with herself (with supervision).
But for the second one - you could by a Stirling Engine (they're a little pricey) - but surely a home experiment would suffice?
When I told her that heating water to create steam creates pressure like a deflating balloon she said:
No it doesn't, the steam just floats gently out of the top of the kettle, there's no pressure.
I'm trying to design a home experiment for my daughter to show steam pressure - that is still understandable enough for an eight-year old.
My question is: What is an experiment to teach my daughter about steam (water) pressure?