A vortex cannon to launch smoke rings.

Watch The Video:


Other Demos of Interest:

How to Make an Air Cannon

How to Make a Water Rocket

Methanol Rocket

Teachable Topics:

  • fluid dynamics
  • pressure
  • travelling pulses



Bernoulli’s Principle states that air moving faster has lower pressure. The air in the centre, moving faster, thus has a lower pressure than air around the edges.


This causes air on the edges to “curl” around to the centre to bring air from the room into the centre to equalise the pressure.


Because the ring is travelling faster than the air in the room, it has lower pressure (Bernoulli’s Principle). The air from the room thus exerts pressure onto the ring, and it is this pressure which maintains the shape of the ring as it travels through the room.



  • garbage can 
  • duct tape
  • shower curtain (a tarp, plastic bag, or sheet will also work)
  • smoke machine (optional)



  • To make the vortex cannon: 
    • cut a circular hole in the bottom of the garbage can 
    • duct tape the shower curtain tautly over the open end of the can
  • Fill the cannon with smoke from a smoke machine (optional)
    • this is not necessary to create the air vortexes, but it allows them to be seen
  • Hit the curtain to push air out of the cannon, creating air vortexes that soar across the room

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