The Principles at Work Behind the 'Unstoppable' Putt-Putt Boat

It keeps going as long as the candle lasts!
Loukia Papadopoulos

There is no doubt that we love YouTuber The Action Lab. He always brings us interesting and educational videos that portray some of the world's most difficult to understand science concepts. Who could forget this video where he showed how it's possible to lift weights with nitinol or this one where he cut glass with scissors using water?

Now, he is back with another titillating experiment. He builds a putt-putt boat and explains how this ship can run forever provided the candle inside it is lit. For the uninitiated, a putt-putt boat is a small metallic container equipped with two copper tubes leading to a small sealed chamber.

There is space inside of the boat the add a candle. Once the tubes have been filled with water and the candle is lit, the boat starts running. What is interesting to note is that despite being fueled by fire, the boat releases only water and no steam. Additionally, its tubes never run out of water.

How does this exhilarating boat work? How come its tubes never run out of water? What role does the candle play? This video answers all these questions and more and brings you action footage of the boat on the run.

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