Vacuuming a can of cocoa

Ever since the great philosopher Calvin presented us with the great question: "How long does it take if you try to empty a can of cocoa powder with a vacuum cleaner", I have been wondering the same thing.

Today, as I had my usual yearly fit of insanity during which I clean the house, I found an old can of cocoa that had an expiry date that was somewhere around 1997. I was just about to throw it away, as I realized that this is an opportunity that rarely presents itself. I checked the house to see if anyone else was present, and as there was nobody to restrain me, I proceeded with the experiment. Here are the results.


Aaand in the left corner, we have the champion, a half-full packet of cocoa, this browny stuff that makes a nice after-work drink when mixed with hot milk, or would, if it hadn't expired six years ago; and in the right corner, a ten-year old 1000W vacuum cleaner with a microfiltered dust bag, and the backing of the entire Finnish electric industry.

Can the champion hold his own against the challenger, or shall he simply be wiped away?

First, we'll weigh the champion. A very nice 353 grams; though a far cry from the announced 500 grams. We will do the weighing again after then bout.


Now, traditional handshake before the big match begins.


Gentlemen, start your engines. And the clock should be started... NOW.


The battle rages on and on:

  • See video 1(info) (4.5 MB MPEG-2) of the first round, which ends in a temporary knockout by the champion, as the vacuum cleaner gets stuck at the bottom of the can.
  • See video 2(info) (5.0 MB MPEG-2), where you can observe some very interesting convection patterns as the challenger bores deeply into the can.


And the challenger has won! The clock ticks at 33.2 seconds, a good result, even though the champion was a bit underweight.


The final result - 306 grams of cocoa sucked up the vacuum cleaner in 33.2 seconds.



So the end result is:

A Vacuum Cleaner Sucks 9.2 Grams of cocoa/second, If You Are Holding The Vacuum Cleaner In One Hand And Your Digital Camera In Another And Have Forgotten To Attach The Cocoa Can On The Table Somehow Which Is A Bad Idea Because Then It Always Gets Sucked And Stuck To The Hose.

Another failed experiment - I am pretty sure I could've done it faster if I had just fastened the can somehow. Now the hose got stuck twice, which seriously impeded the speed.

For my next scientific experiment, I will either get myself a young, attractive assistant with skimpy clothing, or a big roll of duct tape. Unless you want to see a big roll of duct tape being used in another experiment, please volunteer.


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"Vacuuming Cocoa" last changed on 23-Dec-2003 13:51:30 EET by JanneJalkanen.

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