The Power of Air!

There are so many cool exhibit at the Clay Center and many fun ways you can create your own science exhibits at home!

Let’s take a look at the “magical” flowers in our Kidspace gallery that can hold a ball in the Kidspace Bernoulli Flowersair without ever touching the actual ball.  How does this work?

The simplest way to explain this magical mystery is this: Action and Reaction!  When you tap a button on this exhibit, a strong air stream blasts from the flowers.  When you place a ball in the air stream, the ball floats!  This happens because the air is deflected by the ball.  The stronger the deflection (action) the more the air stream pushed back on the ball (reaction).  As the ball gets close to one edge of the air stream, the stream passing by the ball is deflected more and more, causing a greater and greater reaction force pushing the ball back toward the center of the stream.

Try it at home! 

What You Need:DIY Ball and Air Stream

  • Hairdryer
  • Ping Pong Ball or any type of light ball

What You Do:

  1. Turn the hairdryer on high and turn it so that the air stream is blowing upward.
  2. Place the ball in the air stream and watch what happens!

How long can you keep the ball in the air stream?

Is the ball spinning in one certain direction?

What causes the ball to fall out of the air stream?

Does the ball float if you put the hairdryer on a lower setting?

-Kayte

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