Educational Physics Toys

Physics toys allow one to see first hand the different principles of physics in action. They are an easy and inexpensive way to visualize certain concepts which would otherwise be difficult to grasp.

I'm going to list some physics toys below which are both fun to use and interesting to observe.


The Rattleback

rattleback picture amazon


The rattleback (also known as the Celtic stone, or wobble stone) is a fascinating object. You spin it in one direction, it slows down, wobbles, and then starts spinning in the opposite direction!

The following link shows a video of a rattleback:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJzRuprW_cc (opens in new window)


The counter-intuitive behaviour of the rattleback is difficult to explain in a physics sense. But sometime in the future I'll create a web page that explains the physics of the rattleback.

To purchase a rattleback like the one shown in the video, click on the image link below. You will be taken to the Amazon website, where you can make your purchase.





The Gyroscope

gyroscope picture amazon


The gyroscope is fascinating because when you spin it, it is able to precess and spin around in a circle, all while defying gravity!

The following link shows a video of a toy gyroscope:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cquvA_IpEsA (opens in new window)


The behaviour of a gyroscope is explained on my web page: Gyroscope Physics.

To purchase a toy gyroscope like the one shown in the video, click on the image link below. You will be taken to the Amazon website, where you can make your purchase.





Maxwell Wheel

maxwell wheel picture amazon


This suspended wheel continuously winds and unwinds up and down a string. It demonstrates the principle of potential and kinetic energy. The wheel gradually loses height each time it winds back up the string, due to friction losses, so energy is not conserved.

The following link shows a video of Maxwell's Wheel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ch9TDeW1FU (opens in new window)


To purchase a Maxwell wheel like the one shown in the video, click on the image link below. You will be taken to the Amazon website, where you can make your purchase.





Newton's Cradle


newtons cradle picture amazon


Newton's cradle demonstrates Newton's third law, and the conservation of momentum.

The following link shows a video of Newton's cradle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJLqBIim_C8 (opens in new window)


To purchase a Newton's cradle like the one shown in the video, click on the image link below. You will be taken to the Amazon website, where you can make your purchase.





Euler's Disk

eulers disk picture amazon


Euler's disk is a large heavy disk that spolls (spins and rolls) for 1-3 minutes before coming to a stop. It is similar to spinning a coin on a flat surface, but it lasts much longer.

The following link shows a video of Euler's disk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEF7fBvX_4Y (opens in new window)


The behaviour of Euler's disk is explained on my web page: Euler's Disk.

To purchase an Euler's disk like the one shown in the video, click on the image link below. You will be taken to the Amazon website, where you can make your purchase.





See also the science toys page.



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