investigations and experiments

Ice and Soda

This week's experiment came to me from my good friend Bob Cox. He told me about the trick and wanted to know why it worked. It took some thought and testing to come up with a theory of what is happening and then several e-mails to experts to confirm that I was on the right track.

Sail Fans

I got the idea for this experiment while driving around town. We were driving across the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, and I pointed out a sailboat that had a large fan-like propeller sticking up behind the sail. The propeller is attached to a generator, using the wind to recharge the batteries. We joked about it being a fan to provide wind if the breeze died down, which lead to a discussion about what would happen if you tried that. That lead to this experiment.

To find out what would happen if you did mount a big fan to blow on the sails, you will need:

Why We Use Soap

Today I spent some time rebuilding a transformer for my Tesla coil. I got the idea for this experiment as I was cleaning up, trying to get the tar and grease off of my hands. Have you ever wondered why we use soap when we wash things? What is so special about soap?

To find out, you will need:

Viscosity

Today I was so busy having fun that I put off working on this week's experiment. I had several ideas bubbling around in my brain, but nothing quite came together. Then, as I often do when I am looking for an idea, I picked up the first thing I saw and began playing with it. It happened to be a bottle of liquid soap. I turned it over and watched as the bubble rose slowly through the thick liquid. I knew that I had this week's experiment. You will need:

Static Cling?

This experiment comes from a question sent to me by a subscriber and her daughter. They wanted to know why plastic cling wrap clings. I thought I knew the answer until I began experimenting. That lead to more research and all sorts of interesting things. To follow along, you will need:

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