ID Code: I5-22
Purpose: Demonstrates heating air by compression
Description: A small piece of cotton is pushed into the bottom of the tube using the wire provided, and the plunger is sealed into the tube. The plunger is pushed down sharply, compressing and thereby heating the air within. The temperature rises high enough to ignite the cotton with a flash, which can be readily seen through the plastic tube.
This can also be used in an astronomy context, when discussion the end lives of stars - Students can find it confusing that a star that has ceased fusion still had enough heat after collapse to ignite the shell, so this can be an illustration of a related concept.