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Math, Science and the Physics of Vacuum Pressure



Vacuum Pressure


Building skateboard decks using atmospheric pressure is a simple yet effective way to understand what vacuum is.

Explore the reasons why it is possible to bend 7 layers of 1/16” maple veneer at once using a plastic wine pump and a vinyl bag.

Learn why the vacuum created inside a Thin Air Press is so powerful! Use a mathematical formula to work out how many psi are generated by the high pressure pump over the area of a skateboard deck.

To see the effects of altitude on vacuum, watch Ted and Norah go up the Haleakala Crater in Maui Hawaii to test the Thin Air Press from sea level to 10,000 feet up.

Our Understanding Vacuum page has even more information about pressure, from wood clamps to many kinds of vacuum presses. 


Points of Learning:

  • what is vacuum?

  • what is atmospheric pressure?

  • how is vacuum pressure measured?

  • how many psi per deck is generated inside a Thin Air Press?

  • why does the foam mold not crush under the pressure?

  • when does water boil?

  • why does the skateboard glue dry in the vacuum bag but not in the bottle?

  • how does vacuum relate to outer space?

  • what would happen if astronauts didn’t wear space suits?

  • study vacuum technology in the sports, aeronautics and other industries


Demonstrations, Experiments and Activities:

Do a web search for "Air Pressure Experiments" to include fun and informative experiments to demonstrate the power of vacuum, and vacuum pressure.

Levitation using Lung Power - incredibly, air can lift a person

Balloon in a Bottle - why can’t you do it?

Suck an Egg into a Jar - it happens before your eyes

Magic Lid - atmospheric pressure vs. gravity, what’s the difference?