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Bernoulli's Law

The pressure of a moving fluid such as air is less when the fluid is moving faster.

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Ping Pong Pocket

Can we make a ping pong ball hover even if the force keeping it in midair is not coming from directly underneath it?

Credit: eyesore9
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyesore9/8530193585/sizes/m/in/photolist-dZMtnc-dfCPfL-8x75eB-9e9Agf-94DDUQ-9JSpxg-9JSoRZ-9JVddE-9JVcvY-9JSpR6-9JVeK7-8uctJL-9WcxBf-aDV4uy-aDV4tU-aDRbpk-7L7QaF-bn9jDg-bn9gJc-bn9m1r-bn9a6z-bn9hp4-bn9iDM-bn9gmt-bn9fkc-bn9d7B-bn9cfr-bn9bpT-bn9eER-bn9g1K-bn9ejT-bn9T6r-bn9rrk-bn9E8g-bn9zFe-bn9S5p-bn9Fsa-bn9BjK-bn9rMc-bn9C8F-bn9uPk-bn9HMB-bn9tzX-bn9Svp-bn9pwa-bn9y7M-bn9QrK-bn9MMz-bn9wmH-bn9zXZ-bn9yuK/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Bernoulli’s Law states that the faster a fluid flows, the lower the pressure.  This phenomenon is demonstrated by making a ping pong ball float at an angle with a fast stream of air.  To create a fast flow of air, you can cut off the top section of a large plastic bottle and put it in the nozzle of a hair dryer.  The smaller opening you have created will focus the stream of air and make it faster.  You can use this stream of air to hover a ping pong ball, even if the stream of air is coming in at a 45ο angle.  How does the ping pong ball float even though the hair dryer air stream is coming in at an angle?  The fast stream of air from the dryer is creating a pocket of low pressure air around the ping pong ball. The surrounding high pressure air traps the ball and allows it to hover.

Creative Applications

  1. What is the smallest angle we can shoot out air and still have the ping pong ball hover?
  2. What is the heaviest object we can make hover? 
  3. How does weight impact the air pocket created by the low pressure and high pressure air?




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