4C31.30 - Drinking Bird - Relaxation Oscillators

Credit: Paul Noth
Code Number:
Demo Title:
Drinking Bird - Relaxation Oscillators
Vapor Pressures/Partial Pressures
Area of Study:
Heat & Fluids
Drinking Bird.

Video Credit: Jonathan M. Sullivan-Wood.

Wet the head part of the drinking bird.  The evaporation of the water from the head will cause the liquid to rise to the top for about 1 hour without additional wetting.

NOTE: Take care that the large drinking bird does not fall off the glass stand.  This is particularly important if the bird is not on a level area.

The drinking is also an example of a relaxation oscillator.

We have a variety of relaxation oscillators available.  Look at these webpages:

3A95.10 - Relaxation Oscillators

6-00.00 - Stroboscope (we have small variable frequency strobe lights available).

2B60.30 - Tantalus Cups

3D32.15 - Stadium Horn

4C30.25 - Geyser

4C31.30 - Drinking Bird

4C31.37 - Franklin's Pulse Glass Engine

5A40.70 - Kelvin Water Dropper

5F30.60 - Relaxation Oscillators - Neon Bulb, Doorbell, and Strobe Lights

10A06.10 - Relaxation Oscillators

13A10.10 - Perpetual Motion

  • K. P. Trout, Charles A. Gaston, "An Unexpected Heat Engine", TPT, Vol. 50, #1, Jan. 2012, p. 32.
  • J. Guemez, R. Valiente, C. Fiohais, and M. Fiolhais, "A Big Sunbird", TPT, Vol. 42, #5, May 2004, p. 307. 
  • Stuart E. Leinoff, "Keeping a Cool Head", TPT, Vol. 31, #5, May 1993, p. 263. 
  • Robert Mentzer, "The Drinking Bird - The Little Heat Engine That Could", TPT, Vol. 31, #2, Feb. 1993, p. 126.
  • Richard Crane, "What Does the Drinking Bird Know About Jet Lag?", TPT, Vol. 27, #6, Sept. 1989, p. 470.
  • James Vokac and William Blunk, "Bubble Lights", TPT, Vol. 23, #9, Dec. 1985, p. 566.
  • "Drinking Duck Shutter", TPT, Vol. 5, #7, Oct. 1967, p. 342, also A Potpourri of Physics Teaching Ideas - Odds and Ends, p. 304.
  • Kemp Bennett Kolb, "Reciprocating" Engine", TPT, Vol. 4, # 3, Mar. 1966, p. 121.
  • Ralph Lorenz, "Finite-Time Thermodynamics of an Instrumented Drinking Bird Toy", AJP, Vol. 74, #8, Aug. 2006, p. 677.
  • Nadine Abraham and Peter Palffy-Muhoray, "A Drinking Bird of the Second Kind", AJP, Vol. 72, # 6, June 2004, p. 782.
  • J. Guemez, R. Valiente, C. Fiolhais, and M. Fiolhais, "Experiments with a Sunbird", AJP, Vol. 71, #12, Dec. 2003, p. 1264.
  • J. Guemez, R. Valiente, C. Fiolhais, and M. Fiolhais, "Experiments with a Drinking Bird", AJP, Vol. 71, #12, Dec. 2003, p. 1257.
  • Carl Bachhuber, "Energy from the Evaporation of Water", AJP, Vol. 51, #3, Mar. 1983, p. 259.
  • Hj-7: "Drinking Bird", Freier & Anderson, A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • H-240: "Drinking Bird", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • Jodi and Roy McCullough, "Thermodynamics with a Drinking Bird", The Role of Toys in Teaching Physics, p. 4.29.
  • Borislaw Bilash II, David Maiullo, "A Bird That Drinks Many Ways", A Demo a Day: A Year of Physics Demonstrations, p. 231.
  • Jearl Walker, "4.63, Large Dunking Birds", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 204.
  • Jearl Walker, "4.62, Dunking Bird", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 203.
  • Ed Sobey, Woody Sobey, "Dunking Bird", The Way Toys Work, p. 37.
  • Tik L. Liem, "The Drinking Bird", Invitations to Science Inquiry - Supplement to 1st and 2nd Ed. p. 54.

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