Weather and Science Day 2014

 

Air has mass.


Air is matter. And that matters. A big volume of air has a lot of mass, and it takes big forces to move it around. And, given Newton’s 3rd Law, when you push on air, it pushes back...


Our classic demonstration of this is to pop a weather balloon. The air inside a 10 foot weather balloon weighs 35 pounds; when you pop the balloon, the small force from the rubber isn’t enough to push the air around. It stays put, and the rubber “unzips” from around it. A bit of fog in the air makes it visible.



Weather and Science Day is a joint effort among Colorado State University, the Colorado Rockies, & 9News.

 

We have other demonstrations as well.

When the rocket balloons push down on the air, the air pushes up on the balloons. The mass of the air gives rise to the thrust of the balloons.

The air in the balloon falls, and, when it hits the ground, its momentum makes it move to the side. A small-scale demonstration of a microburst!

And now, the view from “pencil cam”:

The curving of air around the beach ball keeps it in the air. It’s the same principle behind the curve of a curve ball!