Make a Turbine
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction!
What do you need?
- A quart or half gallon milk carton
- A nail
- Water in another larger container
- Masking tape
What to do?
- Using the nail, punch a hole in the bottom right corner of each side of the milk carton. Punch another hole exactly in the middle of the top section of the carton.
- Push the string through the top hole of the carton and tie securely so the carton will hang from the string. Tape up each hole with masking tape.
- Go outside and hang the carton from a low tree branch or another place when the carton can hang freely and you won't mind if the ground gets wet underneath. Fill the carton with water.
- Pull off the tape on one corner. Watch what happens. Pull off the tape on two corners opposite each other. Watch what happens. Pull off the tape on all corners and watch what happens.
What you'll discover!
Sir Issac Newton discovered the principle that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is called his Third Law. The water pours out of the small hole and its force pushes the carton in the opposite direction. This is what makes it turn. The more holes there are, the faster the carton turns. This is similar to some turbines. Some turbines use water or steam that is forced a high speed through many small holes to turn a turbine around. The turbine is connected by a shaft to an electrical generator, which makes electricity when it is turned.
Reprinted with the permission of the California Energy Commission. © 1994-2008 California Energy Commission.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state’s handbook of Science Safety.