Tornado in a Bottle

Tornado in a Bottle

Hello world, and welcome to our brand new Family Arts Blog – bringing you exciting activities, interesting stories and guest blog each week. We are kicking off with a very exiting science trick for you to do with your family…..

Thanks to our friends at the University of Salford Science Team, we’ve been having great fun making our very own mini tornado. Take a look at the action ….

If you would like to have a go at making your own all you will need is:

Water, two clear plastic bottle (with a lids that wont leak), duct tape, washing up liquid and maybe a little glitter or food dye.

And here is how to do it:
1. Drill a hole through the lids of both bottle caps, make sure they line up when both bottles are stacked on top of one another.
2. Fill one bottle with water until it reaches around ¾ full.
3. Add a few drops of washing up liquid and sprinkle a few pinches of glitter or a couple of drops of food dye, to will make your tornado easier to see.
4. Firmly attach the lid to the bottle, attach the lid to the empty bottle and place this on top of the one filled with liquid, tie duct tape around the two bottles, make sure they are secure.
5. Turn the bottle upside down so that the bottle with the water is on top. Swirl the bottle in a circular motion.
6. Most tornadoes form anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, so be sure to turn the bottle in this direction.
7. Watch as a tornado will form in the top bottle as the rain falls into the bottom bottle.
So why does this happen?


Well unfortunately it’s not that clear cut: the beginnings of a tornado are not completely understood by scientists. However one way the rotation appears to happen is when winds at two different altitudes blow at two different speeds, this causes a horizontal rotating column of air.

This spinning air then gets tighter and tighter which speeds the wind up, the rain and hail in the thunderstorm cause the funnel to touch down creating a tornado. ….. it’s not actually a tornado unless the tip touches the ground.

Pretty fascinating stuff hey?


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