How to Float a Ping Pong Ball on Air - the Coandă Effect

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If floating were easy, everyone would do it! How does the Coanda Effect work? A video from a fascinating physics playlist shows how balanced upward and downward forces float a ping pong ball in a stream of air.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Perform the demonstration live and have pupils create their own explanations; watch the video and have them check their work
  • Provide a few hair dryers and let the class try to float a ping pong ball themselves
Classroom Considerations

  • Be sure to cover forces, inertia, and viscosity before introducing the Coanda Effect
Pros

  • The narrator explains the phenomenon clearly
  • Force diagrams show the forces acting on the ball throughout the demonstration
Cons

  • None
Common Core