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Try This: Shrink a Chip Bag


Try This: Shrink a Chip Bag

So you have a microwave*, an empty bag of chips, and some time ... what are you going to do?

Try This: Shrink a Chip Bag

Here’s what you need:

  • A small empty bag of chips
  • A microwave (*You may want to get permission from a responsible adult before you do this.)


What to do:

1. Make sure the bag is empty and as free of extra rips and tears as possible.

2. Place it in the microwave, making sure it is not touching any sides of the inside.

3. Set the microwave for 5 SECONDS. Seconds is important, that's why we put it in bold.

4. Start the microwave and watch the fireworks.

5. Open the microwave when the bag stops sparking, but wait a minute before taking the bag out of the microwave.

6. Repeat with other bags when available, adjusting the time slightly for best outcomes. Apologize to your family and roommates for the smell.

What’s happening:

Polymers, or long chains of molecules, make up the plastic that makes up the bag. These polymers have a tendency to be disorganized and clumped together but can be heated and stretched to make the needed shape for the bags. When the bag is heated in the microwave these polymers return to their natural tendency and clump up again.

The bag retains its shape somewhat, because the material that the polymers make up is covered with a thin layer of aluminum, ink, and other stuff. All these layers of materials stay together in the form of the bag.

So if heat is what makes the polymers disorganize and clump up again, can you shrink a chip bag in an oven? Let us know what you find out with #SMOatHome!