Flaming Tea Rocket

How It Works

In order for clouds to eventually form, warm air needs to rise. During the daytime, the sun heats up the air near the surface, causing it to become warmer and less dense than the surrounding air. This warmer air then rises above the cooler and more dense air surrounding it, and eventually forms a cloud.

In this experiment, the tea bag acts as a hollow column used to separate the air on the inside from the air on the outside. The air inside the hollow cylinder of the tea bag acts as the air parcel near the surface that is warmed by the sun, and the air on the outside represents the surrounding cooler air. When lighting the tea bag on fire, the air inside heats up and becomes warmer and less dense than the cooler and more dense air on the outside. The heat then causes the particles within the tea bag to move around and spread out, and eventually the warmer less dense air rises above the cooler air. As the tea bag burns, it turns into ash, and because it becomes so lightweight and the force of the rising warm air is so strong, it then rises and lifts upwards along with the rising warm air inside. Once the ashes and what’s leftover from the tea bag cools, it then falls back down onto the table as cool air sinks.


Step 1:

Put on safety glasses and get adult supervision!

Step 2:

Take the scissors and cut open the bag with the tea bag inside.

Step 3:

Shake tea to make sure it is sitting at the bottom of the tea bag. Then use the scissors to make a straight cut across, cutting off the top of the tea bag. Dump tea into cup.

Step 4:

Unfold tea bag and open up forming a hollow column, and place column standing up straight on the center of the plate.

Step 5:

Take the lighter and light the top of the tea bag column.

Step 6:

Watch the magic happen!