To fully understand Bernoulli’s principle, we first have to understand air pressure. There is air all around us all the time, and this air is always pressing on us. Because the air is pressing on us evenly from all directions, we usually don’t notice it.
The wings of an airplane have a very particular shape: the top of the wing is more curved than the bottom of the wing. Because of this extra curve on top, the air flowing around the wing has farther to travel around the top of the wing than the bottom of the wing. This extra distance means the air travels faster, reducing the pressure over the top of the wing. The reduced pressure on top of the wing allows the pressure on the bottom of the wing to push the airplane upward, causing it to fly!
You can demonstrate Bernoulli’s principle for yourself with a very simple experiment. All you need is a sheet of paper (at least 5 inches wide and 8 inches long), and some clear tape!
Here’s what to do:
1. Take your sheet of paper, and fold it along its width. The fold should be about one inch off the middle of the sheet.
References for further reading:
1) Lord, M. “Lesson: Get a Lift!”. eGFI. March 25, 2011. teachers.egfi-k12.org/get-a-lift/