You've experienced rain before, but have you ever made your own rainstorm? With a few supplies and some physics, you can harness the power of mother nature indoors.
What You Need
- A wide mouth glass jar (like a mason jar)
- A small plate
- Hot Water
- Ice Cubes
What to Do
- Fill the glass jar about half way up with the hot water.
- Place the small plate on top and allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes.
- Put several ice cubes on top of the plate.
- Watch it rain!
What's Going On?
We know that when we heat up water (or any liquid!) enough, it changes its state of matter to a gas. Inside our jar, we’ve heated up the water enough that some of it is changing from the liquid state of matter to the gas state of matter, in a process called evaporation!
Some of the water in our jar is evaporating into the air inside the jar as water vapor. But, when you put the ice on top of the plate, it begins to cool down the plate, and as a result, it’s also cooling down the water vapor near the top of the jar.
When water vapor (or any gas!) cools down, it changes states from gas to liquid, in a process called condensation. Once in the liquid state again, the water is too heavy to float in the air and it falls back down to the bottom of the jar. This is called precipitation - or what we know as rain!
This is the same way the rain outside is created! The water from oceans and lakes on earth is heated up by the sun — and we know that hot water evaporates. The water vapor rises up through the air and forms clouds in the sky — until they cool down enough to become water droplets again (condensation). When they turn back into water, they become too heavy to stay in the sky, and they fall down to earth as rain (precipitation)!
- Aliya Merali