Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Smoking Question

  1. May 8, 2008 #1
    Alright, this is kind of odd but it's really bothering me so I have to know. My roommate continually smokes hookah and I can't figure out for the life of me why when he sucks on the hose, air comes OUT and bubbles into the water.

    (1) Conservation of mass? Where's the extra air coming from?
    (2) How is the extra air's direction being reversed?

    To me, sucking on the hose would act just like a straw and water would go up into the mouth but it doesn't. Oh, and blowing into the hose causes the piece submerged in water to act as a suction device. Anyone familiar with how this works?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2008 #2
    If you put enough water, you will end up sucking the water.

    I don't know how hookah's work, but I'm sure it's just like some sort of 'bong'.

    I always thought those worked by just sucking in air (actual air passing from the room you're in) through the bowl.

    The air helps burn the stuff being smoked and that's the smoke that you see mixed with the air already sucked in.

    The water is there to serve as a reservoir to filter the smoke, and the sucking action is what is causing the water to bubble. The more water you put in there, the easier it will be to suck in water. The water will go up the tube since you have less open space in the bong itself and the water will be higher up.

    (I'm not thread if this post goes here either, but I may be wrong.)
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  4. May 8, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    ??? :confused:
    The general layout of a hookah is that the intake (bong) is below the water level, and the output (suction pipe) is above. The rest should be sealed. That way, the smoke gets filtered through the water, and then has no place to go except up the pipe.
    (Not that I've ever encountered such devices other than theoretically... :uhh:)
  5. May 8, 2008 #4
    I meant, I'm not sure if this thread belonged in this forum.
  6. May 8, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yeah... yeah... I read the first post that you replaced with this one.. 'Fess up, bro... you're sucking one back right now, aren't you? (And I hate to alarm you, but you're really supposed to take the goldfish out of the bowl before indulging.)
  7. May 8, 2008 #6
    lol...no :smile:
  8. May 8, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member


    Love your avatar, by the bye. Is that a family crest?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?