The intriguing midair oscillations of a party balloon, which occur once its buoyancy is no longer capable of keeping it against the ceiling, is shown to require a rather sophisticated explanation in terms of variable-mass dynamics. The ubiquity of this phenomenon, the accessibility of its actual observation, and the subtlety of its analytic description provide a good opportunity for an interesting zero-cost classroom demonstration.
The case of the oscillating party balloon: A simple toy experiment requiring a not-so-simple interpretation
Amnon Yariv, Jacob Scheuer, Bruno Crosignani, Paolo Di Porto; The case of the oscillating party balloon: A simple toy experiment requiring a not-so-simple interpretation. Am. J. Phys. 1 August 2007; 75 (8): 696–700. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.2733684
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