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Soda Bottle Cyclone

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Soda Bottle Cyclone
Soda Bottle Cyclone Intro

Tornadoes don’t travel as far or get as big as hurricanes, but their powerful, twisting winds are the fastest and most dangerous on Earth. At the centre of the tornado is a spinning column of air called a vortex. Some tornadoes even have more than one vortex. This project lets you see what a tornado’s vortex looks like. So grab some supplies, and let’s give it a spin!

For a printable version of this project, click here.

• 2 2-litre pop bottles with caps
• Duct tape
• Silicon caulking
• Water
• Drill (get an adult’s help with this)
• Food colouring (optional)
• Plastic confetti (optional)
Note: Some science stores sell a “Tornado Tube” adapter which allows you to connect the two pop bottles without drilling or gluing.

1. Take the caps off both the pop bottles.
2. Get an adult’s help to drill a 1/2" hole in the centre of each cap.
3. Place the caps together and put a bead of silicon around the hole to seal it. Let dry.
4. Wrap a piece of duct tape around the outside of the two caps to firmly join them together.
5. Screw the double cap onto one of the pop bottles.
6. Fill the other pop bottle about 3/4 full of water. Add food colouring or plastic confetti to the water if you want.
7. Screw the empty bottle onto the top of the bottle containing the water.
8. Hold the duct-taped area with one hand and the bottom of the bottle with the other hand.
9. Turn the bottles upside-down and swirl them in a few quick circles. A vortex forms as the water drains into the lower bottle.

Copyright © 2003 Peter Piper Publishing Inc.
Last updated April 14, 2003.