Project Time Frame
This project examines the nature of whirlpools, tornadoes, and maybe even gravity.
- To study the motion of matter in a vortex.
- To discover uses for vortex energy.
- To further the understanding of planetary motion and gravitational force.
Materials and Equipment
- Computer with internet access
- Color printer
- Digital camera
- Laser pointer
- Plastic bottles
- Motorized spinning device (such as a tornado tube connector toy)
- Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board)
A vortex is defined as that downward swirling motion regularly observed in nature, often during volatile environmental conditions. A vortex is manifested in different forms, such as tornadoes, whirlpools, an airplane’s wake turbulence, or a flushing toilet. The circular motion of a vortex holds a lot of energy. This project explores practical applications for the energy contained in a vortex, and (if you’re feeling ambitious) explains gravitational force in terms of a vortex.
- Where do vortices occur in nature?
- What causes a vortex to occur?
- How is a vortex demonstrated under controlled conditions?
- What are some uses for the energy contained in a vortex?
- What is the relationship between a vortex and gravitational force?
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research
- Gravitational force
- Research related materials (see bibliography below)
- Search, print out, and label examples of the vortex as it occurs in nature.
- Create your own vortex, using the medium of your choice (water, lasers, graphic design, etc.)
- Photograph your vortex.
- Develop your own theory about vortices, or a new practical use for their energy.
- Devise an experiment to test your new idea.
- Interpret your findings in a detailed report.
- Include striking vortex images in your science fair display.