Bottle flipping was a trend that involved throwing a plastic bottle, typically partially full of liquid, into the air so that it rotates, in an attempt to land it upright on its base or cap. It became an international trend in the summer of 2016 with numerous videos of people attempting the activity being posted online. With its popularity, the repetitive thuds of multiple attempts have been criticized as a distraction and a public nuisance. Parents and teachers have expressed frustration at the practice, resulting in water bottle flipping being banned at a number of schools around the world, as well as many people calling for the practice to only be performed on private, if at all. Heading into the autumn of 2017, this trend was getting less and less popular and eventually "dying out" at the end of 2017, when it then got replaced by a new trend (this time an item that became popular) called the Fidget Spinner.
Water bottle flipping involves taking a plastic water bottle that is partially empty and holding it by the neck of the bottle. Force is applied with a flick, with the bottom of the bottle rotating away from the person. If performed successfully, the bottle will land upright. Additionally, the bottle may land upside-down, or on its cap. Doing this is significantly more difficult than flipping a bottle so it lands upright. The amount of fluid in the bottle greatly influences the success of the feat, and it has been shown empirically that filling the bottle about one-third of the way improves the rate of success. The type of water bottle also plays a role; for instance, the brand Deer Park Spring Water has been noted to make the task easier due to its unique hourglass shape with a third divot.
The feat is often performed with disposable plastic water bottles due to their availability, but other containers can be used as well. The bottle flip is often combined with the Dab after a successful flip. The complex physics behind the activity incorporates concepts of fluid dynamics, projectile motion, angular momentum, centripetal force, and gravity. In 2018, a group of students and professors from the Netherlands developed a minimal model of the water bottle flip involving conservation of angular momentum and, most importantly, the redistribution of mass along the bottle. The model estimates that the best filling fractions for water flipping lie in the range between 20% and 40%.
- Tate, Allison Slater (6 October 2016). "Why water bottle flipping craze is getting on parents' last nerves". TODAY.com. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Becker, Hollee Actman (4 October 2016). "Bottle Flipping Is Annoying Parents Everywhere". Parents. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Gabriel Samuels (5 October 2016). "'Bottle flipping' craze takes over internet and gets banned in schools". The Independent. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Mele, Christopher (14 October 2016). "Bottle-Flipping Craze Is Fun for Children but Torture for Parents". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- Russell, Lacey (24 October 2016). "Bottle flipping: It's driving parents crazy". CNN. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- Arnett, Dugan; Rao, Sonia (30 September 2016). "Bottle flipping becomes the rage with middle schoolers". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Matthews, David (26 May 2016). "Here's How to Perfect the Water Bottle Flip, the Teen Meme of the Moment". Fusion. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Jones, Jonathan (25 May 2016). "Seen water bottle-flipping guy's viral video? He shares secret to trick". charlotteobserver. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- McDermott, Maeve (26 May 2016). "Watch the simple water bottle flip that dominated teen's talent show". USA TODAY. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- "Extra." Instructables.com. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Picard, Caroline (6 October 2016). "Water Bottle Flipping – Bottle Flip Challenge Drives Parents Crazy". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Rosenblat, Josh (26 October 2016). "The complex physics of that viral water bottle trick, explained". Vox. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Dekker; Eek; Flapper; Horstink; Meulenkamp; van der Meulen; Kooij; Snoeijer & Marin, Alvaro (2018). "Water bottle flipping physics". American Journal of Physics. 86 (10): 733–739. arXiv:1712.08271. Bibcode:2018AmJPh..86..733D. doi:10.1119/1.5052441. S2CID 51917517.
- "Lightning in a virtual bottle". The London Free Press. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2016.