Get Your Science On: Loop to Loop

In this episode of Get Your Science On, Joe shows off a cool obstacle course you can set up and do with a ping pong ball and a hair dryer!

Many hair dryers have a “cool” button or setting, so that they just blow air without heating it up. In this version, Joe taped this button to that the dryer was blowing room temperature air.

What’s Going On?

When the air comes out of the hair dryer, it forms a column with fast moving air in the middle and slower air on the outside. The fast moving air in the middle of the column has lower pressure than the surround air — this is called Bernoulli’s Principle. If the ping pong ball starts to move out of the air stream, the high pressure air surrounding it pushes it back to the center. Of course, if you move the hair dryer fast enough, the ball won’t be able to keep up with the hair stream and it will fall out. Try experimenting with this at home!