Can you make rain in your own home?
We came across a rain making experiment that uses hot boiling water to create steam which then condenses under a plate holding ice cubes. Then my 4 year old asked me who was heating up the water in the ocean to generate steam.
I explained to her that this experiment was a simulation. It was an imitation of the rain making process, not the real process. She looked confused.
So I thought I would do an experiment that resembles more closely to how nature does it. It’s actually super simple, no boiling water or ice needed. But a little bit of patience is required.
What you need
- a clear bottle
- adult supervision
- Fill the bottle with water to about 1 inch high.
- Place the bottle by a window that can receive direct sunlight.
- Wait (while you do something else).
- After several hours, water droplets can be seen on the upper part of the bottle.
In nature, there is no boiling water in the ocean or a lake to generate steam. Rain forms due to evaporation of surface water. Evaporation takes place continuously despite not being visible.
This experiment is also a simulation like the one mentioned earlier.
In nature, the clouds in the upper atmosphere absorb the sunlight and radiate back to the surface of the Earth to expedite evaporation. In the experiment, the bottle simulates the clouds because greenhouse effect allows the interior of the bottle to become warmer than the external ambient temperature under sunlight.
In nature, when the water vapor in the air rises and reaches the upper atmosphere, it condenses into fine water droplets to form clouds. In the experiment, the water vapor condenses into droplets on the upper part of the bottle.
In nature, when the cloud becomes too heavy, the water falls and becomes rain. In the experiment, when the water droplets become too big and too heavy, they fall down to simulate raining.