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Tornado in a Jar

April 2, 2018

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 three quarters full to four fifths 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... somethings take practice.



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.

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