Carnegie STEM Girls: Shrinking Sun Chips Bag

Your Challenge: Be a magician and shrink a bag of Sun Chips 


SunChips Bag (Big Grab Size)


Adult supervision

Here’s How:

  1. Get a bag of SunChips
  2. Eat the Sunchips (Science is fun and delicious!)
  3. Flatten out the bag
  4. With your adult’s supervision and permission, place the SunChips bag in the microwave.
  5. Close the microwave and put it on high power for 5 seconds. (You’ll see sparks and hear noise, don’t be alarmed…this is suppose to happen!)
  6. After the 5 seconds are done, wait 1 minute before you open the microwave and grab your bag.
  7. Enjoy your miniature bag and show your friends!!


How It Works:

SunChips bags are made up of polymers. Polymers are long chains of molecules. When a SunChips bag is made, the polymers are heated and stretched out to make the flat material used for the chip bag. This process is extremely hot and the molecules are locked in this stretched out state. When exposure to heat in the microwave, the material is able to be released from the stretched out state and return to its natural bunched – up state!

Fun Facts:

  • SunChips is owned by Frito Lay.
  • SunChips bags are compostable.
  • Frito Lay pulled the compostable package in October 2010 because the bag caused excessive noise.
  • In February 2011, Frito Lay introduced a new, quieter biodegradable bag, that is still in use.
  • There are four permanent flavors: Original, Harvest Cheddar, Garden Salsa and French Onion.
  • Limited edition flavors include: Honey Graham,  Apple ‘n Caramel, Cinnamon Crunch, Apple Cinnamon and Honey Nut.

Related Careers:


Chemistry, Heat, Polymers
Middle School, High School

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