The Mysterious Leaning Can
The Mysterious Leaning Can


This may look like magic, but it's not. It's science!


To demonstrate the center of gravity



  • Twelve ounce soda can (silver bottom)
  • Measuring cup
  • Water
  • Flat surface


Empty the soda can of all contents. Replace the soda with water, pouring approximately 100ml of water into the empty can. (The soda in the can could be used, but tends to be messy if there is an accident!)  Gently place the bottom edge of the can where it is standing diagonally on the flat surface. Let go. The can should stand alone at a slant!  If the can does not balance, change the amount of water in the can.


The can will balance at a diagonal angle. An object will balance when its center of gravity is directly above the point of support. The center of gravity is the point where the mass of an object is equally balanced.  The content is a liquid which can flow and keep the inside of the can level. When you tip the can on its edge the water flows into the shape of the can. Isn’t gravity amazing?