Create an air chamber for your own group of high flying astronauts! This is a great activity for a pair of scientists! By working together you can generate your own air stream, and send your astronauts soaring.
What you need:
- Ping Pong balls
- Permanent markers
- Blow dryer
What you do:
- Using the markers, make a face on each of the balls.
- Plug in the blow dryer.
- Turn it to the high setting and point it straight up.
- Place one of your homemade astronauts in the dryer’s airstream and let go.
- The ping pong ball astronaut should be launched toward the ceiling, but stops and bounces around in the airflow partway up.
Try letting 2 or more astronauts fly at the same time. You may be able to do this if you have an attachment for your blow dryer called a diffuser. This spreads the airstream wide enough for more than one ping pong ball. If not, they will most likely “bounce” off one another.
Why does it work?
Fast moving air has less pressure than more slowly moving air. So the ping pong ball is trapped inside the column of fast moving air. The ball is pushed upward by a jet of air with enough force to keep it from falling, but not enough to blow it any higher. This is also the basic law of nature that helps airplanes fly.