Hooked on Science: Soaring toilet paper

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Did you know a leaf blower is not just for blowing leaves? It can also be used to rapidly unroll a roll of toilet paper.

Materials

* Toilet paper

* Dowel rod

* Leaf blower

Instructions

STEP 1: Place the toilet paper on the dowel rod and unroll a few pieces of tissue.

STEP 2: Hold the dowel rod horizontally so the roll will unroll away from you.

STEP 3: Turn on the leaf blower and aim the stream of air just over the top surface of the roll.

Explanation

Bernoulli's Principle states that the pressure exerted by a fluid decreases as its velocity increases. Increasing the velocity over the top surface of the toilet paper lowers the pressure of the air pushing down on the paper. The paper is lifted because there is now an unbalanced force of air pressure acting upward.

Jason Lindsey is a science outreach educator with Hooked on Science. Check out his website www.hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments that might get you hooked on science. Send him your science questions at jlindsey@hookedonscience.com. More science experiments can be found at www.semissourian.com.

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