Tuesday, 6 June 2017


 Heron's fountain is a hydraulic machine invented by the 1st century AD inventor, mathematician, and physicist Heron of Alexandria.
 Heron studied the pressure of air and steam, described the first steam engine, and built toys that would spurt water, one of them known as Heron's fountain. 
 This model of Heron's foutain was made by Marta Mielgo as a project for the science fair. She used 3 plastic containers, that were 5l bottles and rubber tubes. Also silicon to airtight seal the tubes to the bottles. She stained the water with ink to obtain more visible effect of the movement of the water.

How to make it

 In the following description, we will call the 3 containers:
  • (A) Basin (top) 
  • (B) Water Supply (middle)
  • (C) Air Supply (bottom)

  •  Start with a basin (A), open to the air. Run a pipe from a hole in the bottom of that basin (A) to an airtight air supply container (C).
  • Run another pipe from the top of the air supply container (C) up to nearly the top of the airtight water supply container (B).
  • A pipe should run from almost the bottom of the water supply container (B), up through the bottom of the basin (A) to a height just above the basin's rim. The fountain will issue upwards through this pipe.
  • Initially, the air supply container (C) should contain only air; the water supply container (B) should contain only water.
  • To start the fountain, pour water into the basin (A).
  • The water from the basin (A) flows by gravity into the air supply container (C). This water forces the air in (C) to move into the water supply container (B), where the increased air pressure in (B) forces the water in (B) to issue out the top as a fountain into the basin (A). The fountain water caught in the basin (A) will drain back to the air supply container (C).
  • The flow will stop when the water supply container (B) is empty.

  • Heron's fountain is not a perpetual motion machine, it eventually comes to a stop.

In these pictures you can see Marta building her model of Heron's fountain.

Setting up the model at the Science Fair

 We hope you enjoyed this experiment as much as we did!
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