Tuesday 23 April 2013

Tornado in a jar

This is a really simple but really fun experiment.
All you will need is three things:
  1. A jar
  2. Water
  3. Washing up liquid
What you'll need to do:

First you need to fill a jar 3/4 full to 4/5 full.  I used jar about twice the size of an average jam jar for this, but a jam jar would still work.
Next add a tablespoon of washing up liquid.  We used green washing up liquid this time but I might try a clear one next time.
Put the lid on very tightly.  Very quickly spin the jar round and round in a circular motion for just a few seconds.  As soon as you stop look inside the jar.  Do you see a mini tornado?  You may need to try this a few time to get it right, that's ok.
So what is happening?
By spinning the jar in this way creates a vortex in the water that simulates a tornado, a miniature version of one that is. 
The water is rapidly spinning around the centre of the vortex due to an inward force directing the water towards the centre of it's path.  This force is called centripetal force.
Vortexes can be found in nature: tornadoes, hurricanes, waterspouts are just some.
Something else you might like to try is adding glitter to your water, it will help you see the mini tornado more clearly too.

Another way of producing a tornado is getting two clean and clear 2 litre bottles.  Fill one of the bottles 3 quarters full and the attach the necks of the bottles together with tape, we used electrical tape but duct tape would work well too.  Then do this for the full instructions on how to make a hurricane in a bottle go here.

Cool hey!


  1. fabulous, i will try this with my little ones this week

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