How to Make a 3D Model of a Typhoon

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Typhoons are tropical cyclones found only in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Like hurricanes, they are low-pressure systems with surface convection wind currents, which are cyclonic. Typhoon and hurricane are regional terms for the same type of weather system. According to the Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory, tropical cyclone winds form a vortex that have measured up to 253 miles per hour. Winds from Typhoon Nancy on September 12, 1961, was recorded at 213 miles per hour. You can create your own 3D model of a typhoon with two plastic soda bottles and water to learn more about them.

    Clean your soda bottles and remove the labels. Fill one soda bottle with water and 2 oz. of colored lamp oil. Stand the bottle upright on a table.

    Cut a piece of duct tape, approximately 4 inches long. Place the empty soda bottle upside down and on top of the one filled with water and oil, so that the two openings meet. Wrap the duct tape around the two soda bottle openings to connect them securely.

    The colored oil will create a typhoon vortex inside your bottle.
    ••• water vortex image by sumos from

    Turn the bottles over, so that the one with water and oil is on top and upside down. Sharply turn that bottle in a twisting motion so that the liquid inside spirals. Place the bottles on a table, and you should see a vortex of colored liquid inside the top bottle as it drains into the empty bottle.

    Things You'll Need

    • 2-liter plastic soda bottles, 2
    • Water
    • 2 ounces colored lamp oil
    • Duct tape


    • Instead of adding lamp oil, you can use plain water or water with food coloring.

      Science stores sell typhoon tubes to connect the two soda bottles instead of using duct tape.

      Ask your students to explain what they see. A convection current experiment relates to this project.


    • Securely fasten the two bottles or you will have liquid all over the place.

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