How To Make a Smoke Ring Cannon

Shoot Smoke Rings in Air or Water

Here is the smoke cannon in action.
Here is the smoke cannon in action. You can make smoke rings in the air or you can fill the cannon with colored water and make colored rings in water. Anne Helmenstine

You can make a smoke ring cannon that shoots smoke rings in the air or even in water. A smoke ring cannon is a simple science project that uses easy-to-find household materials to illustrate fluid vortex formation in a fun way.

What Is a Smoke Ring Cannon?

This is a tube that you fill with smoke that has a hole at one end. You squeeze the tube and the smoke escapes through the hole as a smoke ring. This works great with smoke bombs, but you can make smoke rings in fluids besides air.

Try filling the smoke cannon with colored water (use tub tints, food coloring, or paint), fill a tub or sink with water, and make 'smoke rings' in the water.

Smoke Cannon Materials

  • Potato Chip Tube (I used a plastic one, but the cardboard ones work fine.)
  • Knife or Scissors
  • Source of Smoke

Make and Use the Smoke Cannon

  1. Eat the chips.
  2. Cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the potato chip tube (mine is about an inch across).
  3. Remove the lid of the tube.
  4. Covering the hole with your hand or lid, invert the smoke cannon over a source of smoke until it is full of smoke.
  5. Seal the tube with the lid.
  6. To make a smoke ring, gently squeeze the tube.

You can make a super-sized smoke cannon by using a much larger cylinder, such as a bucket or trash can. Cover the open end of the trash can or bucket with heavy plastic sheeting, which you can secure with tape or a bungee cord. Thump the plastic surface to form the smoke rings.