The Screaming Balloon

Try this awesome experiment at home! First look at the video below and see if you can predict what science is going on!

HERES A CLUE: you’ll need to think about the word ‘vibration’

Equipment:

A balloon and a nut from a toolbox (those small, hexagonal, metal things with a hole in the middle)

Method:

  1. Put the nut inside the balloon before it is blown up.
  2. Blow up the balloon with the nut inside and tie it up.
  3. Position the balloon so that the knot is facing the ceiling.
  4. Rotate your arms in circles so that the nut starts to move in circles around the inside of the balloon
  5. Start slowly, but gradually get faster
  6. What sound can you hear?

The science:

Hopefully, you’ll be hearing a weird noise, but do you know why?

Sounds are caused by ‘vibrations’. When you pluck a string on a guitar the string vibrates back and forth in the same way that your vocal cords in your throat vibrate when you talk.

When the balloon ‘screams’ in the experiment this is the balloon vibrating. The nut rolls across the inside of the balloon and makes it vibrate producing the cool noise that you can hear.

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