How to Make a Model of a Cyclone

by Brenda Priddy
You can make an accurate model of a cyclone with water.

You can make an accurate model of a cyclone with water.

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A tornado, sometimes called a cyclone, is a dangerous storm that is caused by changes in air temperature, pressure and air flow. These storms can destroy towns, roads and forests. Learning more about cyclones can help us understand how they work and ways to strengthen buildings against them. You can make your own mock cyclone from two soda bottles and some water. Most cyclones are caused by high-speed spiraling winds creating a funnel-shaped vortex in the sky. The model cyclone creates a similar vortex using rapidly changing pressures and circular motion.

Items you will need

  • Two 2 liter clear soda bottles
  • Towel
  • 1-inch metal washer
  • Electrical tape
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
Step 1

Fill one of the soda bottles two-thirds full with water. Wipe the outside of the bottle so that the surface is completely dry. Pay special attention to the grooves around the top of the bottle.

Step 2

Add three drops of dish soap and three drops of food coloring to the water.

Step 3

Place the washer on top of the bottle. Place the second bottle upside down on top of the washer. Tape the two bottles together with electrical tape. Use three or four layers of tape to prevent any leaks.

Step 4

Flip the bottles over and watch the water drip through until it slows or comes to a complete stop. Turn the bottles in a circular motion. The water will form a cyclone-like shape in the bottle and quickly finish draining. You can repeat this process as many times as you wish.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images