All physicsfun toys

Triple Pendulum Chaotic Fidget 

Get this chaotic fidget spinner here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Triple Pendulum Spinner

Triple Pendulum Chaotic Fidget: This interesting spinner is made from stainless steel and features three physical pendulums each mounted with their own low friction bearing. In slow motion one can see the kinetic energy and angular momentum is transferred from one pendulum to another as the entire device rotates, with some spinning rapidly and others rotationally at rest- the intricacies chaotic motion, characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial starting conditions, tiny differences in how the system is released leads to dramatically different outcomes each time.

1 mole Carbon Block

Avialable exclusively from:

STEMCell Science Shop: BUY NOW: 1 mole Carbon Block

1 mole Carbon Block: by Avogadro’s famous number there are 6.022×10^23 atoms contained within a mole of substance- a very large number because atoms are very tiny. This chunk of graphite is precisely cut to weigh 12.011 grams, and hence when you pick it up you will have, in your hand, 6.022×10^23 Carbon atoms (to better than 1 part per thousand). That’s 602.2 billion, times a trillion, atoms! Such numbers are a challenge to conceptualize, so in collaboration with STEMCell Science Shop we introduce our specially cut and engraved “1 mole of Carbon Block”— to put an Avogadro’s Number of atoms on your shelf. 

Fluorescein v. Laser Frequency

Need a laser pointer? Incredibly, you can get 3 (one of each color) for under $20 (including S&H): 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Red+Green+Purple Laser Pointer

Make you own fluorescent solution with this powder: 
From STEMCell Science: BUY NOW: Fluorescein Powder

Fluorescein v. Laser Frequency: exploring how this famous fluorescent dye reacts to three frequencies of laser pointer using this unique liquid filled paperweight. Under Green (532 nm) we see some mild yellow fluorescence as the beam transmits through the liquid, under Red (635 nm) the beam transmits with no reaction, but under near UV Blue (450 nm) the beam is completely absorbed near the liquid surface and re-emitted in bright green with a peak at 515nm. A fun home experiment to explore quantum physics phenomena with inexpensive apparatus.

Uranium Glass Marbles

Available here: 
From STEMCell Science: BUY NOW: Uranium Marbles 

And get the 405nm Laser here: 
From eBay: BUY NOW: 405nm Laser 

Uranium Glass Marbles: the very small quantities of uranium oxide in this glass give it its green color and produces brilliant fluorescence under a 405nm violet laser pointer. Uranium is of course radioactive but the tiny amount in this kind of glass poses no risk. The florescence has nothing to do with the radioactivity- in fact it is myth that radioactive items glow!

Density Column Key Fob

Avialable here: Totoro Drift Bottle Keychain

Get similar liquid key fobs here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Liquid Key Fobs
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Liquid Key Fobs

Density Column Key Fob: lots of physics in the design of this ridiculously cute key fob— two immiscible fluids are sorted under gravity by density with the densest on the bottom and the lightest on top (often kerosene and mineral oil). The plastic animal (best guess: rabbit?) has a density between that of the two liquids so it stays at the boundary layer, and the critter is weighted to be bottom heavy so it keeps a vertical orientation with help from Archimedes law of buoyancy. The most recent versions of this toy have interesting opaque colored liquids, such as the gray fluid featured here. 




Neon Flicker Flame Night Light

Similar old fashion flicker bulb lights available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Flicker Flame Neon Bulb 

Get this diffraction grating here to explore light source spectra:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: 500 line/mm diffraction grating

Neon Flicker Flame Bulb: this charmingly designed night light evokes a theme of an old fashioned gas street lamp- however there is no flame, but instead the light is due to emission spectra from excited neon gas as a result of a discharge electric current from the 120V house mains. The flickering effect comes about because the current flow will increase the temperature near it, which raises the pressure and affects/raises the breakdown voltage near the current- so the glow from one area can only last as long as it takes to heat up and raise the breakdown voltage which then briefly kills the current in that area. In other physics, a diffraction grating shows that the gas is indeed neon, which only emits light at specific emission wavelengths- mostly reds with some bright yellow lines (and a clearly visible green line) at AC house voltages.

Rolling Uphill Illusion

Availabel here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Uphill Ramp Illusion

or get the 3D print file here:
From Thingverse: Download Now: Uphill Illusion

Learn more: The amazing illusions of Kokichi Sugihara
See the many other Sugihara Illusions: in my collection

Rolling Uphill Illusion: the ball bearings seemingly roll uphill as if attracted by magnets of some kind. What’s going on? Swipe for reveal as it is truly a matter of perspective. A wonderful take on an illusion invented by Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University. 3D printed by my good friend @zathras5 (Roger Key) from a file designed by Julian Hardy. 

Electric Motor/Generator

Amazingly this motor is available for less than $10 US. 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Brushless Motor/Generator with LED

Electric Motor/Generator: this inexpensive and common motor can also serve as a generator of AC electricity- here lightning an LED when the shaft of the rotor is spun by hand. Most electrical energy we use today is produced by moving a magnet near a coil of wire (known as Faraday’s law of induction) to produce an electric current. Removing the permanent magnet casing reveals this design to use 9 separate copper windings. I made a transparent second rotor with six neodymium magnets- and when these magnets are made to move near the windings the LED again lights with the flow of current. 

Skydisc 360° Photopolymer Hologram

These vintage holograms are available on eBay-- Batman, Superman, and others: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Skydisc Animated Hologram 

360° Photopolymer Reflective Hologram: one of my favorite pieces of holography- Batman from the Saga of the Dark Knight card series 1994. Incredible 3D image by Skybox International- rotate the disk to reveal an animated 360 degree view. Unlike photographs, holograms are recordings of the interference pattern of light waves. This interference pattern can encode moving 3D images which are then reanimated by illumination with a point source of light and viewing from an appropriate angle. Looks even more stunning in person!

Skybox Photopolymer 360 degree Hologram

These vintage holograms are available on eBay-- Batman, Superman, and others: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Skydisc Animated Hologram 

Skybox 360° Photopolymer Hologram: an amazing demonstration of holography- Batman from the Saga of the Dark Knight card series 1994. The 3D image by Skybox International comes to life by rotating the card to reveal an animated 360 degree view. Unlike photographs, holograms are recordings of the interference pattern of light waves, and this encoded information is stored in a layer thinner than a sheet of paper. Here the interference pattern encodes a moving 3D image which is then reanimated by illumination with a point source of light, and viewing from an appropriate angle. Looks even more stunning in person! 

Specular Hologram Knot

Learn more about this art form here:
Zintaglio Arts: Holography by Matt Brand
Click here: to see other specular hologoraphy in my collectiuon.
The full details of the math in this process are described in this paper by Brand

Specular Hologram Knot: this complex 3D image is created by etched grooves that reflect a point source of light as glints, and each eye sees a slightly different pattern such that, via stereopsis, the shiny points appear to float above or below the surface. Complex mathematical equations must be solved to compute the shape of the thousands curves that are scratched into the surface of the metal plate. The artwork featured here is a creation of Matt Brand of Zintaglio Arts. 



The Physics of Tippe-Top Inversion

Get a nice tippe-top from this fine source: 

From Etsy: BUY NOW Flip Over Tops

Physics of Tippe-Top Inversion: spinning things often have surprising physics! In brief: friction with the surface provides a torque that acts on the existing angular momentum of the top to flip it over. The top will stay flipped until the spin rate slows down enough to where its center of mass pulls it back to the resting position. Inversion phase shown at 240fps- note the little hop the top takes as it goes on to its stem! 

Bouillant de Franklin (Hand Boiler)

A variety of shapes and colors are available 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW: Hand Boilers 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Hand Boilers 

Bouillant de Franklin (Hand Boiler): reversible liquid-gas phase transition device made famous by Benjamin Franklin who was one of the first to describe the physics of its operation. The boiling point of dichloromethane is slightly below body temperature - heat from a hand increases pressure in the bottom bulb pushing the green (dyed) liquid through the glass pipe to the top. A vintage handmade version from France.