Arena Table Exhibits KL 35 The floating ball

KL35 THE FLOATING BALL


Why doesn’t the ball drop?



Hold the ball in the air current
and let go of it.


The ball floats almost in the same place in the air current, seemingly defying the gravitational pull of the Earth.


A boundary layer is formed between the ball and the air current. When the air current comes into contact with the ball, the shape of the object and the flow friction will turn the friction downward. This phenomenon is known as circular motion or circulation. It gives the ball its lifting force and enables the ball to remain in the air current. This is in agreement with Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which claims that every action is met with an equal or opposite reaction.

The lifting force that the ball receives is dependent both on the speed of the air current and the angle of incidence between the object and the air current. The angle of incidence determines the way in which the air current is diverted and provides lifting force for the object in question.

The science behind airplanes and sailboats is based on the same lifting force. The shapes of the wings and sails divert the air current, thereby creating the lifting force that drives the object upward or forward.  If the current is minimal, the angle of incidence must increase. In this situation, a pilot will lift the airplane’s nose, and the sailor will loosen the sailboat ropes to make the sail baggier.

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