The Bernoulli Ball

Levitation for less than $1.00

What to Do

You will need the following items for this experiment:

Here's what you do:

If you are not having any luck, try this.:

Finally, if you still don't have any luck, let someone else try it. It can definitely be done; if they can do it, ask them what they did!

I have done this hundreds of times in front of groups of people. It can be done!

What is Happening?

Bernoulli's principle tells us that air that is moving at high speed has lower pressure than still air. The air moves around the ball to create a pocket around the ball of low pressure air. When the ball moves to the side of the pocket, it will be pushed back in. And the upward force from the air stream keeps the ball aloft. It's quite a cool effect!

Other Things to Try

With a stronger air stream (we use a leaf blower), you can levitate a bunch of different things. There are two guys from Ohio who call themselves "The Flying Bernoulli Brothers" who have made a career of doing this! They hold up beach balls, pop bottles (empty, of course) and even light bulbs! This is a very cool effect, and you are encouraged to experiment. Try using blow dryers, vacuums (if they have a "blow" setting), leaf blowers, fans, and anything else you can think of! (Note: fans often do not work all that well, since they will have a pocket of slower moving air in the center, where the motor and the center of the fan blades are.