Vanishing Pyrex

What To Do

Preparing for this great little magic trick is very easy. All you need to do is get a large glass bowl, some vegetable oil and one or two Pyrex items. Pyrex is a special type of glass but it shares a very cool property with vegetable oil.

Fill your glass bowl just over half full with vegetable oil. Take your Pyrex glassware and gently sink it into the vegetable oil, making sure that no air bubbles are trapped inside and watch as the Pyrex seems to vanish as it fills with oil. You can either let your friends watch the it vanish before their eyes or you can amaze them by making the Pyrex appear from the oil as if by magic..

The Science

Ever noticed how a straw in a glass of water seems to bend even though in reality it is straight? It is because air, glass and water bend light in different ways so the light from the straw gets bent making the straw itself look bent. In the case of Pyrex and vegetable oil, they both bend light in exactly the same way so when Pyrex is sunk inside the oil, it appears to vanish. You can see that air bends light differently if you sink the Pyrex into the bowl but keep air inside it. With air inside, you can still see the item but let oil gently fill it and it slowly vanishes before your eyes.