Q:

# Why does a can collapse when a vacuum pump removes air from it?

A:

Objects maintain their shape by achieving equilibrium between forces. The air inside a can exerts pressure against the interior surface that pushes the walls of the can outward, and the air outside of the can exerts pressure that pushes the sides inward.

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Evacuating most of the air from inside a can removes the outward-pushing pressure, which leaves only the crushing force of the air outside to act on the can. Without something inside to balance this force, the pressure of the outside air overcomes the structural integrity of the metal can and collapses its walls. The result is a crushed can.

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An air conditioner vacuum pump is a pump used to remove moisture from refrigerant lines. Moisture enters an air conditioner during installation and must be removed before the air conditioner is used. If the lines are not vacuumed, the air conditioner can not work efficiently.

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Rotational equilibrium occurs when an object is either not rotating and remains at rest or is rotating at a constant rate – all torques acting on an object have a net value of zero, and there's no rotational acceleration. This occurs due to the rotational analogue to Newton's first law: an object at rest or in motion continues in the same state unless acted on by an unbalanced torque.

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