Information about Make a tornado twister with Fizzics Education | Kids Science Experiments

Tornado twister

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

Two plastic bottles with the same size with lids

A hammer

A thick nail to poke a hole in the lids with

Thick, waterproof sticky tape

Food colouring

Glitter

Water

Tornado in a bottle science experiment - materials needed
1 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - pushing screwdriver through the lid

Make a hole in the centre of two bottle lids using a thick nail.

2 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - connecting the bottles with tape

Using some thick, canvas-backed plastic tape (needs to be waterproof), attach the lids together so that the tops of the lids are touching and the hole goes through both lids.

3 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - materials needed

Fill one bottle 3/4 full with water. Add some food colouring and glitter.

4 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - taped bottles

Attach the lids to the bottles so that one bottle sits on top of the other. Invert so that the water runs from one bottle to the other. Observe what happens.

5 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - showing a young girl a blue tornado in a bottle

Invert the bottles again, and this time, give the bottles a rapid twirl in a horizontal direction. This should start off your vortex, or ‘tornado in a bottle’.

Why Does This Happen

The vortex spins because of centripetal force – the one that famously makes an ice skater spinning on the spot twirl faster when his or her arms are pulled into their body. As the water spins, it moves faster at the base of the bottle, where the neck of the bottle is smaller. The faster-moving water pulls the water down into the bottle.

At the same time, air from the bottom bottle is let into the top bottle because of the shape of the vortex, which allows a funnel for the air to flow. Because the air and water can both flow freely while the water is spinning, the water pours into the bottom bottle faster than it did when there was no vortex.

Learn more!

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