Floating Ball Experiment: Levitating a Ping-Pong Ball Using a Hairdryer’s Air Stream

In this experiment, you’ll explore the principles of air pressure and Bernoulli’s principle by creating a simple setup that allows you to levitate a ping-pong ball using the air stream from a hairdryer. This hands-on activity is not only visually impressive but also provides insight into the interaction between air flow and objects.

Floating Ball Experiment

Materials Needed for this science experiment:

  1. Ping-pong ball
  2. Hairdryer (with a “cool” or “low” setting)
  3. Smooth, flat surface (table or countertop)
  4. Optional: Protective cover for the workspace


1. Set Up the Hairdryer: Place the hairdryer on a stable surface and plug it in. Make sure the hairdryer is set to the “cool” or “low” setting. If your hairdryer has different speed settings, choose the lowest one.

2. Position the Ping-Pong Ball: Place the ping-pong ball on the table or countertop, directly in front of the hairdryer’s nozzle. The ball should be centered and not touching the hairdryer.

3. Turn On the Hairdryer: Turn on the hairdryer to its cool or low setting. Hold the hairdryer so that the air stream is directed towards the ping-pong ball, but not touching it.

4. Observe the Levitation: As the hairdryer produces a gentle and continuous air stream, you will notice that the ping-pong ball starts to levitate. It will appear to float in the air stream.

5. Experiment with Control: Gently tilt or move the hairdryer to adjust the angle of the air stream. You’ll find that you can control the height and movement of the levitating ball by changing the angle of the hairdryer.

6. Try Different Techniques: Experiment with different angles, distances, and positions of the hairdryer to see how they affect the behavior of the levitating ball. You can also try using different objects, such as lightweight foam balls or even lightweight pieces of paper.

7. Discuss Bernoulli’s Principle: Explain to children that the levitation occurs due to Bernoulli’s principle. The fast-moving air on top of the ball creates a region of low pressure, while the slower-moving air below the ball has higher pressure. This pressure difference lifts the ball and keeps it suspended in the air stream.

8. Safety Note: Keep the hairdryer on the “cool” or “low” setting to ensure that the air stream isn’t too powerful or hot. Also, avoid pointing the air stream directly at your face.

9. Reflect and Learn: Discuss how this experiment demonstrates the effects of air pressure and how the concept is applied in various real-world situations, such as airplane wings generating lift.

The Floating Ball experiment provides a captivating way to introduce children to Bernoulli’s principle and the concept of air pressure in a playful and visual manner. It’s an enjoyable and educational activity that helps them understand the connection between science and everyday phenomena.

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