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I Trying to understand the drinking bird toy better

  1. Feb 10, 2017 #1
    I bought the drinking bird toy, and I want to get a better understanding of it, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_bird)

    I understand the basic way it works and that it is a simple heat engine, but I cant seem to find any information that helps me answer the following

    - I notice all these toys have the same sized glass bulb where the dichloromethane sits. What happens if you make the bulb larger so it holds more dichloromethane but keep the rest of the bird the same ?

    - I find this simple heat engine pretty fascinating and I am trying to understand how it can be made more efficient, like if perhaps magnets could be added to help reduce friction instead of the toys normal metal piece to hold it up ?

    - I cant find this answer anywhere I have looked but does increasing the size result in lower efficiency? I dont see anywhere any information on anyone playing with the dimensions for fun and trying to make it swing better?

    Thanks for any help
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2017 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    You might consider doing experimental physics here: Make your own bird, and see what effect changing the dimensions has.
  4. Feb 12, 2017 #3
    I would love to and would do it - But first I need some tips on how to make this possible.

    There are a few major hurdles that come mind for me to be able to do this:

    1) I have to see how I can mimic the shape of the glass bird using glass or something like it?
    - a thought that comes to mind , is perhaps finding a way to attach a small glass graduated cylinder to small glass empty light bulb since it kind of looks like the shape needed? Maybe this could be made from some type PVC pipe ? but I have to see if PVC will act differently then glass which would affect the rise of the liquid

    2) I have to find way to safely remove air from glass and some how seal it without letting air back in and without the glass exploding ?

    - A food storage vacuum or wine seal vacuum maybe can be used? but i don't know how I would know when it is the right amount of pressure before the glass explodes or how to seal it ?
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