In simple terms, the frozen glass bottle, dime, and hot water on it all try to achieve the ambient temperature of the room (i.e. the whole and neutral state). This causes a physical reaction of the dime dancing as the cooler air from the frozen bottle clashes with the warmer air from the water. Metal works well in this experiment because it heats and cools quickly.
The dime dancing is the consequence of a situation akin to the constant breeze at a large lake.
Lakes are probably the easiest for a person to understand. A large body of water often acts as a heat sink as it warms and cools much slower than land or air. A breeze is generated as the body of water tries to push the warmer or cooler air on to shore to achieve equilibrium with the surrounding ambient temperature.
While many enjoy the lake breeze myself included, I must agree with Eoin Colfer. Once one understands physics it’s a bit harder to simply sit back and enjoy the mysteries of mother nature.
Thank you for reading, I. Reid
Dancing Dime Directions
1. Freeze bottle in freezer area for several hours.
2. Remove and cover opening with dime.
3. Place drops of warm water over dime. The water acts as a little seal.
4. As the air inside the bottle warms to room temperature, it will take up more space.
5. As the warm air expands, the pressure will cause the dime to dance or burp. This will continue for several minutes.
*Note: Some people put their hands around the bottle to improve the speed of this experiment, but it works to just wait a few minutes.
This is the video of the experiment. Also, find a free printable with the steps in the experiment at this link.
Thank you for reading, I-Reid