Hooked on Science: Toilet paper snowstorm

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Create your own snowstorm using toilet paper and just a few other materials from around the house.

Materials

* Leaf blower

* Toilet paper roll

* Dowel rod

* Water

Instructions

STEP 1: Wet one side of the toilet paper roll with the water.

STEP 2: Place the toilet paper on the dowel rod and unroll a few pieces of tissue.

STEP 3: Hold the dowel rod horizontally so the roll will unroll away from you.

STEP 4: Turn on the leaf blower and aim the stream of air just over the top surface of the toilet paper.

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. The water weakens the toilet paper causes it to tear into pieces.

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 jlindseyhookedonscience.com.

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