Tinkle Tells You Why...
…Clouds Form and More!
Writer: Aparna Sundaresan
Illustrator: Shrutika Gorule

…clouds form 

Before we understand why clouds are formed, let’s understand what they are. Clouds on Earth are tiny water droplets or ice crystals accumulated together in the atmosphere. They appear white to us because the water droplets are so tightly packed that they reflect most of the sunlight that falls on them. 

Clouds are formed when the air becomes full, or saturated, with water vapour. Warm air can hold more water vapour than cold air. When the temperature falls, even a bit, the effect it has on the atmosphere is much like the effect squeezing would have on a sponge. Clouds end up forming as a result of the cooling. Water vapour condenses into water droplets around a particle, usually a dust or pollen particle. When enough water vapour condenses, a cloud is formed. 

…water puts out fire 

For a fire to burn, it needs three ‘ingredients’, so to speak: fuel, heat (a form of energy), and oxygen gas (which is used up during the burning process). If even one of these ingredients is taken away, a fire cannot continue burning. 

When water is poured over a fire, the fire’s heat causes the water to turn into water vapour. This process is rather energy-intensive, so a lot of heat energy is taken away from the fire. Water, therefore, cools down the fire to such an extent that it can no longer burn. To a certain degree, water also smothers, or suffocates, the fire, cutting off the oxygen it needs. But water cannot put out grease or oil fires. In such a fire, oil burns, and oil and water don’t mix. Therefore, the only way to put out a grease fire is to smother it by putting a lid over it or throwing soil or sand over it to cut off its oxygen supply. 

…we feel wetness 

Did you know that we humans don’t have receptors in our skin to sense wetness? While our skin has pain and temperature receptors, there are none for sensing how wet something is. So how do we feel wetness? It’s an illusion our brain creates! 

Ongoing research has indicated that what we actually experience when touching something wet is cold temperature, and a difference in texture and pressure. The brain interprets these sensations as ‘wet’. This is why sitting on a cold chair can sometimes make us think we’re sitting on a wet chair. Or why after we wear a waterproof glove and dip our hand in water, we think our hand is wet—even though it’s completely dry. The brain is merely creating an illusion of wetness! 

You May Also Like these…