Pet Tornado Weather Science Experiment
Did you know you can create your very own pet tornado in a bottle? In this fun and easy weather science experiment, we are going to show you how to build a tornado in a bottle with a few readily available items you probably have lying around your house. This STEM focused exercise will leverage a little engineering to build your very own pet tornado in a bottle you can enjoy over and over again. While enjoying your pet tornado, you will be able to observe a vortex that will provide some insight into tornados and other spinning and potentially destructive weather phenomenon.
- Two empty 2 liter plastic soda bottles with the labels removed.
- Small plastic beads, shreds of aluminum foils, or other small shiny or colorful items.
- Duct tape
- Metal washer
- Optional – food coloring
- Fill one of the bottle 3/4 of the way full with water.
- Add your beads and other items.
- Optional – Add some food coloring to your pet tornado in a bottle. Be sure not to make the color too dark so you can see your beads and other items.
- Center the metal washer over the mouth of the bottle containing the water.
- Position the empty bottle upside so its mouth is centered over the washer.
- Now use the duct tape and secure the two bottles together.
- Flip the bottles over so the one filled with water is on top.
- Observe what happens.
- After all the water has drained into the bottle below, flip the bottles over one more time, but this time give the bottles a gently swirl.
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How it Works:
By swirling the bottles, you create a vortex which we have been calling your pet tornado just for fun. Without the vortex, the air and water have to take turns moving past one another which results in a lot more time needed for the water to drain into the bottom bottle. On occasion, not having a vortex may actually result in a pressure equilibrium where the water stays in the top bottle.
Make This A Science Project:
Test different sized bottles to see if you observe any differences in the size or speed of the vortex. Test different liquids. Test washers with different sized holes to see if their is a noticeable change in the behavior of the vortex. Add different items to the vortex and observe how they behave. Does spinning or shaking the bottle in different ways effect the vortex?
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