The Mechanics Of The Drinking Bird

1212 words - 5 pages

The drinking bird is one of the wackiest inventions of all times, the weirdest think about this simple looking toy is how it works. The drinking bird is made of out of two glass balls with a tube made out if glass running between the balls. In the center of this tube is a bracket attaching the bird to a pair of legs. The two balls and the tube are all hollow. Running through the outer tube is a tube that ends just before the bottom of the bottom tube.
On one end of the bird there is a beak like object, the beak and head are covered in a felt like material. On the bottom end of the bird in the cavity there is a blue liquid. The liquid fills the bottom cavity about a third of the way full. Another feature that the bird also has is a top hat and tail feathers that have no distinguishable purposes, than to be purely cosmetic.
The process of the drinking bird is very repetitive, once the head and beak have been wet the bird continues to rock back and forth tell the water level runs below the beak. The starting position of the bird is head down. Once the bird rocks up it keeps rocking, for around eight rocks back and forth. With each rock the head creeps lower and lower because the liquid is traveling up the inner tube.
At the top of the tube the liquid is stored. When the bird goes to get water again the inner liquid drains out to the bottom. One of the hardest things two notice about this process is the breaking of the vacuum that happens when the bird goes down to drink. This process then repeats tell the water runs out of the birds reach.
This amazing processes raises many questions. Some of the most important consist of: What is what is the purpose of the felt like material and the liquid in the bird? What process happens inside of the bird? The final question is, are there outside factors that can affect the drinking duck? Before a person starts to ask themselves these various questions there is some background information that is needed.
The drinking duck was invented back in 1945, and patented in 1946, by Miles V. Sullivan. The drinking duck was created as a toy but is widely used in chemistry and physics classrooms because of the lesson it teaches. The drinking bird is created by creating a space were the liquid isolated. The liquid that was used first in the drinking duck was tricholoromonofluoromethane. The reason that tricholoromonofluoromethane is used is the low boiling point, and ability to be affected and change states in lower temperatures. The problem with this first liquid its flammability, and irritability to the skin and lungs (Gillespie, n.d.)
The first pair of questions that need answered are, the purpose of the felt is and what the inner liquid is. The first question is the easier of the two to answer, the felt is meant to hold water to the upper bulb. The beak of the bird is supposes to draw the water up the outside much like chromatography paper would. Even though it is supposed to contain the water,...

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