So, today I tried an experiment I saw via Mental Floss – setting fire to something in my kitchen. Uh oh, I hear you think, is that a good idea? Turns out it was an AWESOME idea 😀
I took a tea bag and cut the top off just below where the string is attached. It has to be one of those fancy bags, because when you open it up and tip the tea out it’s a long cylinder. [I tried it with a square bag and it wasn’t long enough.] The cylinder has to be open at both ends so you can stand it upright – on something that isn’t flammable of course.
Now the fun bit – I used a long kitchen lighter to light the top of the cylinder. Pay attention, it’s quick!
Now for the science … We all know that hot air rises, and it also expands as the particles move more quickly because they have more energy. When it is heated, the air inside the teabag becomes hotter and less dense than the air outside, so it rises. This pulls cold air down to take its place – a convection current. When the teabag has burnt to a tiny piece of ash, it is light enough for the convection current to force it up into the air.
[Read more at Steve Spangler Science.]