Quiet Bernoulli Levitation (Aerodynamic Levitation)

In summary, Bernoulli levitation, or aerodynamic levitation, is a physics demonstration where a ping-pong ball is levitated in mid-air by a hair dryer or other air stream device. However, hair dryers can be loud and alternative methods such as using compressed air or a computer fan can be explored for a quieter demonstration. The demonstration can also be enhanced by spinning or shooting the ball upwards.
  • #1
Bernoulli levitation, or aerodynamic levitation, is a great physics demonstration. You've probably seen it before. The classic demonstration is: take a hair dryer, point it straight up, and put a ping-pong ball in the stream of air. The ping-pong ball floats in mid-air.

But, most hair dryers are loud. I want to find a way to do this demonstration quietly, so that I can talk to my students more easily while the ball is levitating. Or, maybe set it up as a display on my desk and just leave it running continuously.

So, does anyone know of a good way to do this quietly? Should I build a soundproof shield around the hair dryer? Is there another device instead of a hair dryer that produces an air stream quietly?
 
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  • #2
Yes and no. Many labs have access to compressed air at the wall. Because the pressure is generated somewhere else, it is much more quiet, but there is always some noise due to the air stream. Of cause you can always use bottled nitrogen if you have the right size pressure regulator.
 
  • #3
lateral_flux said:
Bernoulli levitation, or aerodynamic levitation, is a great physics demonstration. You've probably seen it before. The classic demonstration is: take a hair dryer, point it straight up, and put a ping-pong ball in the stream of air. The ping-pong ball floats in mid-air.
I'm not sure how this demonstrates Bernoulli principle, but it's interesting. You can also angle the stream to cause the ball to spin and place a tube over ball to cause it to shoot upwards. Example video (all done in one take):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdT3ChUl-zk

lateral_flux said:
But, most hair dryers are loud. I want to find a way to do this demonstration quietly.
Perhaps a small fan similar in size to the ones used to vent a PC case could be used. A regular sized fan and a small beach ball could be used.
 
  • #4
I would imagine that if you got a computer fan rated for high mass flow that you could probably get the kind of velocity you need if you hooked it up to a contraction.
 
  • #5


I understand the fascination with Bernoulli levitation and its potential for educational demonstrations. I also understand the desire to make the demonstration quieter in order to better communicate with students.

One potential solution to reduce the noise level of the hair dryer would be to use a lower-powered hair dryer or one with adjustable settings. This would allow for a gentler air stream and potentially less noise. Alternatively, you could try using a small fan or even a vacuum cleaner on its lowest setting to create the air stream needed for levitation.

Another option would be to build a soundproof shield around the hair dryer, as you mentioned. This could be a simple DIY project using foam or other sound-absorbing materials. However, keep in mind that this may also affect the air flow and potentially impact the levitation effect.

It may also be worth considering alternative methods of levitation that do not rely on a loud air stream. For example, magnetic levitation or acoustic levitation could be used to achieve a similar effect without the noise.

In conclusion, there are several potential solutions to achieve quiet Bernoulli levitation, including using a lower-powered hair dryer, using a different device for the air stream, or exploring alternative methods of levitation. I encourage you to experiment and find the best solution for your specific needs.
 

1. What is quiet Bernoulli levitation?

Quiet Bernoulli levitation, also known as aerodynamic levitation, is a method of levitating objects using the pressure difference created by the flow of air around the object. This technique utilizes the Bernoulli principle, which states that as the speed of a fluid increases, the pressure decreases.

2. How does quiet Bernoulli levitation work?

In quiet Bernoulli levitation, an object is placed between two air streams with different velocities. The faster air stream creates a lower pressure area, causing the object to be pushed towards it. By carefully balancing the air streams, the object can be suspended in mid-air.

3. What are the applications of quiet Bernoulli levitation?

Quiet Bernoulli levitation has various applications in fields such as material science, chemistry, and biology. It can be used to study the properties of materials in a weightless environment, to mix and separate chemicals without the need for physical contact, and to levitate and study living cells without causing damage.

4. Is quiet Bernoulli levitation a new technology?

No, the concept of Bernoulli levitation has been around for centuries. However, advancements in technology have made it possible to achieve quiet and stable levitation, making it a more useful and practical technique for scientific research.

5. Are there any limitations to quiet Bernoulli levitation?

Yes, there are some limitations to this technique. One major limitation is the size and weight of the object being levitated. As the air streams need to be carefully balanced, larger and heavier objects are more difficult to levitate. Additionally, the object must have a smooth and aerodynamic shape for the levitation to be successful.

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