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A flying airplane demonstrates the Coanda Effect

The Coanda Effect experiment

Believe it or not, scientist are still arguing (debating would be a better word, I guess) as to exactly what scientific principle should be used to explain why an airplane can fly. One explanation, the Bernoulli Effect is commonly used to explain the phenomenon of flight . In this experiment we demonstrate the second explanation – the Coanda Effect.

  1. Light a candle and place it on a table.
  2. Place an oatmeal or salt container in front of the candle.
  3. Blow against the other side of the container (the side opposite from the lit candle). Be sure to keep your mouth even with the flame of the candle.

Bet ya didn’t guess that was going to happen – did ya? The Coanda Effect is the tendency of a fluid or air to follow the curved surface of a wall. In this case, air acts like a fluid and follows the contour of the round container. When the streams meet on the other side, they combine to blow out the candle.

The Coanda Effect is used to explain how an airplane can fly. The airplane flies because the wings are forced upward. Wings are forced upward because they are tilted and deflect air downward (generating lift). Both the upper and lower surfaces of the wing deflect air. The upper surface of the wing deflects air downward because the airflow ‘sticks’ to the wing surface and follows the tilted wing due to the Coanda Effect.

Experiment Supplies

Supplies: Candle, Oatmeal canister


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