BrainStorms: Science with Scottlin – Hot Air Rises

Science With Scottlin

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Have you ever seen a candle make aluminum foil spiral? Its an oddly specific question, so maybe not. But today – you will!  

GRAB YOUR INGREDIENTS: aluminum foil, scissors, a skewer, play dough, candles, a lighter

NOTE: Have adult help and supervision when using the scissors and the lighter

STEP 1: Cut the aluminum foil into a circle, then into a spiral

STEP 2: Stand the skewer up (pointy side down) using the play dough as a base

STEP 3: Pinch and hang spiraled aluminum foil on the top of the skewer

NOTE: If its the spiral is too long, cut off whatever is needed so that it doesn’t get caught in the flame 

STEP 4: Place a candle under the spiral on both sides, light them, and watch what happens

Science behind this experiment: Have you ever heard the saying hot air rises? Well, that is exactly what’s happening here.  

The candle heated the surrounding air. Heating of the air then caused air molecules to travel farther apart, making the air less dense. This less dense air rises above the dense air.  

As the hot, less dense air rises, the spiral begins to spin. It keeps spinning because the cooler, surrounding air comes toward the candle, heats up, and rises too. 

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