DIY Bernoulli Balloons

Summer is more than half way over for us but that doesn’t mean there is an end in sight to the scorching Texas heat.  Check out this week’s weather screenshot and the image the Weather Channel chose underneath Spring, Texas. That’s right, they chose firemen putting out flames because it feels like 106°F outside!

But it gets better, my air-conditioning is now on it’s last leg. And when you live in Texas, the worst possible thing to happen in the summer to your house is losing your air conditioning. Currently, my house hovers around 79°F during the day. Not terrible but definitely not comfortable.

So as we wait for the A/C to be replaced, I found my old college fan to keep the kitchen cool during the day. Having that fan out reminded me how I’ve always wanted to recreate the cool floating balloon display at the Children’s Museum (which by the way has amazing air conditioning!) After finding inspiration here I decided how hard could it be and it turns out the kids LOVED it!

What do you need? small fan – (here is the one similar to mine), 2 to 3 sheets of cardstock, balloons

How you do it:

  1. Form a tube with card stock and tape that has a diameter about the size of the fan face
  2. Tape the tube of card stock to the fan
  3. Blow up balloons, turn the fan on, and place the balloons in the vortex created by the tube.

What is the science?

This is an example of Bernoulli’s Principle. Bernoulli was a mathematician in the 18th century and I’m fairly certain would have loved how excited my kids were to do this experiment.

The reason why the balloons float in mid-air is because the air in the middle of the tube is a lower pressure than the surrounding air. This lower air pressure causes the balloon to want to stay floating in the middle!

We tested to see if the size of the balloon mattered on how it stayed in the vortex. At one point the kids were modifying the vortex and making paper airplanes to test to see if they would fly.

If you give a mom a broken A/C… 

She is going to do find her fan from college. When she finds the fan from college, she’s going to look for balloons.. And chances are when she finds the balloons, she’s going to conduct a science experiment to pass the time in the blazing summer heat…

Have a great weekend and stay cool!

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Categories: 3 ingredient experiments, 5 minute experiments, STEM | Tags: , , , |

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