Free fluid

Cartoon showing how to make fluid suspend midair


What you need:

A large plastic bottle
Some water
An outdoor space


Cut a hole about 1cm across in the side of the bottle and stand it on the ground.

Keep your finger over the hole and fill the bottle with water.

Take your finger away – water should spurt from the hole.

Repeat what you did, but drop the bottle from above shoulder height as you remove your finger. This time, no water pours from the bottle while it falls.

Results & explanation

In the standing bottle, gravity pulls on the water so it presses on the bottom and sides and escapes through the hole. When you drop the bottle, both it and the water fall at the same rate so the water doesn’t press on anything – it’s as if it was floating inside the bottle.

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