Air vortex cannon
An air vortex cannon is a device that fires doughnut-shaped air vortices — similar to smoke rings but larger, stronger, and completely invisible. The vortices are able to ruffle hair, disturb papers or blow out candles after travelling several metres.
The toy consists of a short and broad barrel with a slight taper, closed by a flexible diaphragm at the larger end. The diaphragm is internally attached to the barrel by elastic strips. The gun is "armed" by pulling the diaphragm out, distending the elastic bands, and is "fired" by releasing the diaphragm. The diaphragm quickly pushes a quantity of air out of the open end, creating a vortex ring.
An air vortex cannon can be made easily at home, with just a cardboard box. A commercial version of the toy, with a barrel 12 inches (30 cm) wide and useful range of 20 feet (6.1 m) is sold under the name Air bazooka or Airzooka.
Vortex ring toys have been described as home-made projects since at least the 1970s. The Wham-O Air Blaster toy introduced in 1965 could blow out a candle at 20 feet (6.1 m). The commercial Airzooka was developed by Brian S. Jordan who claims to have conceived it when still a boy. A feature of the Airzooka is a loose non-elastic polythene membrane, tensioned by a bungee cord, rather than elastic membranes. This allows a much greater volume of air to be displaced.
A large air vortex cannon, with a 9 feet (2.7 m) wide barrel and a displacement volume of 2,873 US gallons (10.88 m3) was built in March 2008 at the University of Minnesota, and was able to blow out candles at 180 feet (55 m).
In 2012 a large air vortex cannon was built for Czech television show Zázraky přírody (English: Wonders of Nature). It was capable of bringing down a wall of cardboard boxes from 100 metres (330 ft) in what was claimed to be a world record.
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- The Vortex Cannon - Student Science at YouTube. Accessed February 2013.
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- Erbert and Gerberts Candle Cannon at Youtube. Accessed 9 Jan 2011
- World's Largest Air Vortex Cannon Blows Out Birthday Candles From 180 Feet at geekology.com. Accessed January 2011
- Zázraky Přírody - Air Vortex Cannon at Youtube. Accessed 7 Sep 2013
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