3 Science: Steam Engine Pin Wheels

Steam engines are heat engines that perform mechanical work using steam as its source of energy.  First created in primitive forms around 2,000 years ago.  Becoming major power sources in the last 300 years; now producing over 80% of the world’s electrical energy.


We’re going to make pin wheels this week!  Once the students are home, we’d love for parents to boil water and show how the steam causes the wheels to move.

Create a bowl out of tinfoil big enough to fit the tea light candle

Wrap the center of a 6-to-8-inch (15.24-to-20.32 cm) piece of the copper tubing around a pencil 2 or 3 times to make a coil. The 1/8-inch tubing should bend easily around the pencil.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 2.40.37 PM.png
Make a hole in the tin foil on either side and place the copper tubing through the holes and insert the candle under the copper wire.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 2.40.45 PM.png
Place the tinfoil steam engine into the bowl of water and fill the tubes with water. The easiest way is to fill it with water from a faucet but you can also submerge it in water before placing it in the bowl.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 2.43.59 PM.png
Light the candle. Over time, the water in the tubing will heat up and begin to boil. As it evaporates into steam, it will shoot out of the the “jets” of the tubing, causing the entire can to spin in the bowl.
Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 2.46.56 PM.png

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s