Wednesday 2 May 2012

Make your own Vortex Cannon!

Make your own Vortex Cannon!

What you’ll need is:

·         A large Pringles tube
·         Scissors
·         A Craft knife
·         A 2p coin
·         An incense cone
·         Blu Tac
·         Sticky tape
·         A ruler
·         A balloon
·         Matches or a lighter
What you’ll need to do:

1.       Cut about 10cm from the bottom of your Pringles tube to shorten it. (I used a craft knife, you could use scissors)
2.       Take the clear Pringles lid and draw around the 2p in the centre of it and carefully cut out the small circle shape you’ve made.
3.       Cut the neck from the balloon and stretch it over the bottom of the Pringles tube.   You could fix some tape to hold it firmly in place at this point.
4.       Now you’ll need your incense cones.  It may come with a little metal disc holder but if not you can use your 2p coin instead.  Stick the incense cone to the metal disc (or coin) using the Blu Tac and then using the Blu Tac again stick that to the front of the tube (the opposite end to the balloon).
5.       Carefully light the incense cone blow out any visible flame so that it just smokes and put the lid on.  (You need to be sure that you choose a place where the air is still to ensure this works)
6.       Now you have your cannon ready hold it with one hand and tap the balloon with your finger.  You should see a ring of smoke puff out of the hole.  This stirred up great excitement in our home and I hope it does in your home too!

How does it work?

So how does it make that cool looking ‘O’ shape rather than come out as one big blob of smoke?
Well, it’s a bit like the balloon is a pool cue and when you tap it instead of shooting at a solid ball it is shooting at air (this means, unlike a solid ball, it can change shape).  The ball of air is propelled through the small hole we made.  The reason we can see a smoke ring is that the air is stained with the smoke so we are able to see the ball of air shoot out of the vortex cannon.

I read somewhere that ‘The particles that make up air will also rub against anything moving through it, whether it is an aircraft, a car, a tennis ball…or even a ball of air. This is the effect of friction, often called air resistance.' 

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