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2B40.30 - Cartesian Diver

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​2B40.30 - Cartesian Diver

Title2B40.30 - Cartesian Diver

The Cartesian diver is a device used in illustrating phenomena such a transmission of pressure through liquids, buoyancy (Archimedes' Principle), and compressibility of gasses.

Assembly Instructions

Overview:  When testing the apparatus make sure that the diver will return to the top after being sent to the bottom of the tank.

Instructions:  Grab the king-sized test tube with the Cartesian diver in it from storage.  Place the 3-fingered clamp in a bench clamp on a half-cart and place a soft rubber stopper under the end to cushion it against breakage.  Between the Cartesian diver and the bench clamp, put the white backing plate around the 3-fingered clamp for good contrast.  Change the pressure in the column by squeezing the clamped hose until the Cartesian diver hits the bottom.  This is to make sure the diver will rise back to the top.  If it does not, then the water levels must be reconfigured (see construction instructions for further detail).
Note:  An exportable version of the demo exists.  It is a pop bottle with a test tube in it.


Setup Time10
Operation Time5
Preview Time5
Operation Instructions


Instructions:  When ready to use, squeeze the clamped hose at the top of the test tube, which will change the pressure within the neon orange Cartesian diver.  Watch as it sinks down the tube.  Once it strikes the bottom, let go of the clamped hose and watch as the diver rises back to the top of the tube.


Demo on DimeNo
PIRA 200No
Export Instructions (if different)
Category2 Fluid Mechanics
Subcategory2B - Statics of Fluids
KeywordsWater, long pipe, compressibility, displacement, pressure, buoyancy
Construction Information
Instructions:  The Cartesian diver is a test tube that has been painted fluorescent orange and filled with water so that when the tube is inverted, the water level is just above the paint line. The end is sealed with a #2 rubber stopper with a hole in the center. Fill the king-size test tube with water and seal with a large rubber stopper that has a tube in the center; the rubber hose is attached to the tube and a clamp is placed on the hose.  The water level in the large test tube must be adjusted carefully as once the diver goes to the bottom, it may not be able to go back up.
cartesian diver - large (king-sized test tube, orange test tube, rubber hose with clamp)
bench clamp
clamp 3-fingered
Export Setup - 2L bottle with sealed test tube and dyed water