Tornado In A Bottle

Tornado In A Bottle

Tame the destructive force of a tornado by creating a mini one in a bottle. It's fun and easy!

Suitable for kids aged 4+

You Need:
  • Empty plastic bottle with lid. Any size, 500ml works well
  • Two drops of liquid detergent (clear detergent works best)
  • Teaspoon of glitter (optional)
  • Food colouring (optional)
What to do:
  1. Almost fill the plastic bottle with cold tap water.
  2. Add the liquid detergent.
  3. Add glitter to the bottle.
  4. Screw on the cap tightly.
  5. Hold the bottle by the neck and turn it upside down. Rotate the bottle in a circular motion hard and fast. When you stop rotating a mini-tornado should form inside the bottle. Some find it easier to hold the bottle horizontally and then with a hard flick of the wrist flip it upside down. It may take several goes before you get it right all part of the fun.
Note: add a small amount of food dye for a colourful effect, or some tiny animal toys and watch them swirl in the vortex. Coloured lamp oil makes just the vortex coloured. Cool!

Why is it so?

Most people encounter their first vortex as bath water drains from the bathtub. A vortex is a type of motion that causes liquids and gases to swirl around a center line. In this experiment you have created a water vortex by rotating the bottle. The vortex looks like a tornado in the bottle and is very similar to the effect you see with a real tornado except the medium is water as opposed to air.

For a longer lasting tornado in a bottle check out our vortex valves!