The Science Behind The Water Bottle Flip

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By Maxine ZR

Michael Senatore, a senior at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, blew away the internet with his talent show act. His act was simple; he flipped a third-full water bottle in the air and landed it perfectly upright on the table. With the focus and the reaction from the audience, his high school talent show act was extraordinary and immediately went viral, but how did he do it? With just the right amount of water combined with a well thought-out technique, it can be done.

Materials Needed?

  • One 16.9-ounce Water Bottle (Filled ⅓ of the Way)  
  • Table

What to do now?

  1. Start off by holding the bottle at the cap with your index finger in the front. Why? Doing this ensures that the weight of the water and the bottle’s center of gravity are at  the bottom of the bottle               
  2. Flick your wrist and index finger and let go of the bottle
  3. Make sure you flip it the same way every time so you know if you where you need to fix your mistake.  

 

What’s the science behind it?

  • When the bottle is flipped, the bottle rotates but the water doesn’t spin with it. The water splashes up and down one of the sides due to angular momentum.
  • Filling the water bottle up ⅓ of the way allows the bottle to spin easier and allows the water to adjust easier to the angular momentum.
  • As the bottle is in the air spinning, the angular momentum is transferred to the water and the spin is slowed. The water is back to the bottom and “anchors” the bottom of the bottle to the table.

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