Thursday, July 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Explorit: Visualize the weather with a vortex in a bottle

By
From page A7 | January 10, 2014 |

We’ve been hearing a lot about the polar vortex that’s freezing most of the country right now, but what is a vortex? It has to do with the way the air and the moisture in it are moving.

To make your own vortex at home and see for yourself what’s happening, you’ll need two 2-liter bottles with the labels removed, a washer with a 3/8’’ opening, duct or electrical tape, water and glitter. Fill one bottle almost all the way with water and shake in as much glitter as you like. The glitter will help you see the movement of the water once your vortex gets going.

Tape the mouths of the empty bottle and the full bottle together with the washer between them. The washer will make an even smaller opening between the two bottles so only a little water can get through. Use enough tape to make a very tight seal; you don’t want any water leaking out.

Your vortex is now ready to go! Get started by turning it upside down so that the full bottle is on top, and just set it on the table or floor and observe. What do you see happening? How fast is the water moving, or is it moving at all? What about the glitter?

You may be seeing a little water dribbling into the bottom bottle and a few air bubbles pushing up into the top bottle, or the water may not drip much at all. That’s because of pressure and how small the hole is between the two bottles.

When lots of water molecules get together, like in a big bottle, they like to stick together and develop surface tension. Surface tension is like a skin on top of the outside edges of the water. It’s what helps lightweight things float. The edge of the water that’s touching the washer has surface tension.

When there’s lots of water in the top bottle, gravity is strong enough to push through the surface tension and pull drops of water into the bottom bottle. And there’s enough pressure in the bottom bottle to push air bubbles up to the top. But when there’s less water in the top bottle, there’s no longer enough pressure to break the surface tension, so in spite of the hole, the water stays in the top bottle.

Now try swirling your vortex around very fast several times. What’s different in how the water and glitter are moving now? How fast is the water draining into the bottom bottle?

Notice the spiral shape that the waves of water and glitter are forming in the center of the bottle. When you add spinning motion, angular momentum causes the molecules in the middle of the bottle to move faster than the molecules near the sides. That helps the top bottle drain quickly and smoothly.

And then you can turn your vortex over and do it all again! What you’re witnessing in your bottle is very similar to the weather happening over most of the country right now — that’s why meteorologists are calling it a polar vortex!

————
Explorit’s coming events:

* Check out Explorit’s “Beautiful World: Science and Art” exhibition from 1 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and 3 to 6 p.m. Fridays.

— Explorit Science Center is at 3141 Fifth St. For more information, call 530-756-0191 or visit www.explorit.org, or “like” Explorit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

Comments

comments

.

News

Local therapists bring ‘Daring Greatly’ movement to Davis

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis area youths learn wilderness survival skills

By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Governor says immigration solution is a priority

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Firefighters keep Yosemite blaze far from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Police nab three for vehicle theft

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Crews battle grass fire near Davis

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Sorting out the claims after pipe break: Who pays?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
As farmland subsides, aquifer worries mount

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Pogledich named Yolo County counsel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Tuleyome launches Kickstarter campaign to publish a children’s nature book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Davis teen on California team for national horticulture competition

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Truth and authenticity on radio program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Senior sing-along held monthly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

A rose by any other name

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Ross Douthat: Democrat, Republican patterns are changing

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Civilians are innocent victims

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Thanks for your kindnesses

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Questions, questions, questions

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

River Cats snap three-game losing streak

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis Water Polo U10 girls are golden

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

Aggie Silva mixed school and strikes; wins Reno tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lucky No. 7: Giants snap losing streak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Davis Rugby teams wrap up summer season

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
DHS tryout schedule updated; physical packets due

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Hammel struggles in A’s loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

Happy 103rd birthday!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A2

 
Fay Libet: 100 years young

By Spencer Ault | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Future subscriber: Sonya Theresa Arnold

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Wedding: Alpers – Halprin Jackson

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Engagement: Snyder-Oerman

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Arts

Landscape exhibition returns to Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Hear live music at Monticello

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
New KDRT show features touring musicians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Hot City heats up Winters gazebo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Enjoy some Mischief at First Saturday event

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

British organist to play in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Native American dancers to perform in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Winters stages ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, July 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6