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The physics of a waterpipe

  1. Jan 20, 2005 #1

    A waterpipe (alsno known as hubbly bubbly, hookah, shisha) is an oriental smoking device, that uses flavored tobacco (different than a bong, which is used to smoke illicit drugs). It consists of several parts: the head where the tobbaco sits, and is usually covered by aluminum paper where a piece of hot charcoal sits. The smoker inhales through a pipe but somehow that is connected to a water container that bubbles (and hence the name hubbly bubbly) as you inhale. Has anyone seen it or know how it works? I own one and I haven't been able to figure it out...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2005 #2


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    There is a stem attached to the bottom of the tobacco bowl which is submersed in the water. The ends of the tubes through which you draw the smoke are in the closed water chamber above the surface of the water. When you draw on the tube you lower the pressure above the water. Since the bowl is at atmospheric pressure air (containing smoke) travels down the stem of the bowl passes through the water and up to the mouth. Delivering the cooled deadly gas.
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