You may have seen our mini Archimedes screw a few months ago. It was a great STEM challenge and worked really well.
Last weekend we decided to take it up a level and make a supersized Archimedes screw!
Supersized Archimedes Screw
An Archimedes screw consists of a hollow tube with piping twisted around it. We made this one using two half pipes taped together with a long strip of clear PVC tubing wrapped around them.
When the pipe is rotated water travels up the tubing from the lower tub of water to the higher tub.
As the pipe is rotated a small amount of water moves into the tubing, on the next rotation more water moves into the tubing pushing the first section of water further up the tube. This continues until the water has moved all the way up the tubing.
A section of pipe
Clear PVC tubing
Tape to attached the tubing in place – duct tape works best
Two containers to hold water
Something to raise up one container
How to make a supersized Archimedes screw
Construct the Archimedes screw like the image above.
Use tape to attach the tubing to the pipe. The tubing should be twisted around the pipe with an end at each end of the pipe.
Experiment with different diameter tubing and length of pipe to find the most efficient Archimedes screw.
The tubing should not be under water for the whole rotation it should come out as the pipe rotates.
If your Archimedes Screw doesn’t work, try turning it the other way!
Find out more about Archimedes and the history of his creations in my mini Archimedes screw post.
If you enjoyed this activity, you’ll love our other STEM challenges!
Last Updated on November 2, 2021 by Emma Vanstone