Air Rings

Air Rings allows visitors to blow delicate silver air rings through a solution of water and glycerin. By squeezing a small air pump, visitors can vary the pressure at which air blows through a nozzle into the base of a four foot, 11-inch diameter liquid-filled acrylic tube. Introducing an air burst at the right pressure and volume (a fairly easy task) rewards the visitor with the appearance of a vortex ring. Allowing for large variations (too much or too little air) encourages visitors to explore the parameters of the phenomenon. Illuminated from the base, visitors introduce microbubbles by vigorously pumping air into the tube. These bubbles remain for two to three minutes, well after the water settles. The path and structure of the vortices and other turbulence are finely traced by these suspended, silvered microbubbles.