Phenomena

Pop-Pop Boats

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I confess I’ve never heard of the pop-pop boat toys Steve Mould uses in this video. They feature a tank filled with water and a small source of heat in the form of a tea light candle. Together, these features generate propulsion and a distinctive popping sound from the toy. As he is wont to, Mould explains the physics behind the toy using a transparent version to show the water/steam oscillations that drive the boat. Having watched, I have to say that this set-up seems ready made for an undergrad fluids class and a control volume analysis! (Image and video credit: S. Mould)

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