Lucas Masin-Moyer | March 23, 2017
Throughout the academic year, Notre Dame’s physics department has brought science to the public with a series of events titled “Our Universe Revealed.”
The ExPAND demo team, made up of physics graduate students Adam Clark, Austin Nelson, Craig Reingold and Allan Leishman, presented the next installment in this series, “A Show of Fire and Ice,” on Tuesday evening in Jordan Hall of Science.
Clark kicked off the event by starting a massive fire with a few simple ingredients.
“[I used] just non-dairy coffee creamer,” he said. “So by spreading it out, it increased the amount of oxygen gas that was available to be burned and we got the spectacular flame. You might have seen this before … the people that do pyrotechnics for [action] movies use principles like this to get that large, satisfying fireball.”
The next demonstration of fire was conducted by Nelson, who created what he called a “fire tornado.”
“What we do is put this cage on and what that does is swirl the air for us, it gives the air particles spin — what we like to call angular momentum,” he said. “So the air is swirling around inside and the fire has nowhere to go but in and up.”
This tornado was the highlight for three children attending the event — Ramon, Thomas and Eleanor Veselik.