This great little lab stirrer (which I modified to have a transparent top) can be used in many investigations and demonstrations:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Stirrer
Inexpensive concave lenses make great spinning platforms- get one here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Concave Lens Spin Station
Get a PhiTOP in aluminum here (will work nicely in this demo):
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhiTOP
From Amazon: BUY NOW PhiTOP
Induced Current Spin-Up: Spinning magnets from the magnetic stirrer induce electric currents to flow in the brass PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which opposes the magnets underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP and this unique means of using Lenz’s Law to spin it up. This top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave lens keeps the top from wandering off of magnetic stirrer.
Magnetic Flux Gyroscope art and other amazing science inspired jewelry available here:
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Kinetic Magnetic Pendants
From Foxtail Jewelry: BUY NOW: Tabletop Magnetic Kinetic Art
Magnetic Flux Gyroscope: kinetic art on a stand (or on a chain)- physics you can wear, rendered in brass or silver by @foxtailjewelry in collaboration with @physicsfun! Two half-sphere neodymium magnets on chains remain suspended under centripetal acceleration - connected by the invisible but tactile force of magnetic fields. Honored to have this concept featured in the gallery of @foxtailjewelry.
The Collector's Edition Periodic Table with 85 element samples:
From Etsy store ProtoshopLLC : BUY NOW Heritage Periodic Table
Alert: only this brand is guranteed to have the real elements embedded- beware that many very cheap fakes are being sold under $100 US.
The Heritage Periodic Table: Collector’s Edition- a comprehensive collection of the chemical elements that can fit in the hand. Embedded in acrylic are actual samples of 85 of the 118 elements- including pure gasses and reactive alkali metals in glass ampules- and represented by 80 high purity samples (including a Gold nugget and liquid Mercury) and 5 compounds. Radium is included in the form of an antique watch hand, and the bead of Mercury rolls back and forth within its glass container. This spectacular table and collection is the creative work of Tim and Cory Marriott of Engineered Labs Protoshop LLC
Get one from these fine sources:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Tea Candle Steam Engine
From Amazon: BUY NOW Tea Candle Steam Engine
Other interesting engines available here: Simple Heat Engines
Tea Candle Steam Engine: a functional piston steam engine complete with boiler and flywheel. Takes about 2 minutes to get going after the candle is lit. The invention that powered the industrial revolution on a desktop! Made by Wilesco.
Available from these sellers:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Wilesco Model Steam Engines
Often available on eBay: BUY NOW: Wilesco D16 Engine
Click this link for the: small candle engine
Wikipedia has a very nice description of the history and inner workings of steam engines
Vintage Wilesco Steam Engine: a working model reciprocating piston steam engine complete with boiler, flywheel, governor, and whistle. The invention that powered the industrial revolution on a desktop! My father bought this model D16 in 1970- with just a little cleaning and oiling it fired right up. Wilesco has been producing model steam engines since 1960 and still manufactures and sells the D16.
Animated Horse set available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Luycho Locomotion Horse Cup & Saucer
CAUTION: There are poorly made counterfeit versions on Amazon as well. Only these origial Luycho products produce a clean animation and image.
Locomotion Anamorphic Cup & Saucer: an amazing combination of barrier grid animation and anamorphic projection rendered on elegant porcelain. The warped image on the saucer is reconstructed by reflection off the surface of the cup, however the gold mirroring is comprised of parallel lines that only reflect part of the image pattern. Turing the cup (or the saucer and cup together) reveals a flying bird or running horse! Another expertly crafted product from Luycho.
Mini Tesla coil with wire end attachment- get one here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Tesla Coil
Long exposure image captured using this Slow Shutter app:
From App Store: BUY NOW: Slow Shutter Cam
Corona Discharge Trajectories: the ejected electron stream propels the end of a thin wire connected to a miniature Tesla coil. The corona discharge creates a glowing plasma at the end of the wire, but also imparts momenta that pushes the wire’s end into a final state circular orbit. The more interesting behavior occurs during the initial transient orbits which seem to be hypotrochoid type curves beautifully captured here using the Slow Shutter app. Please see seven posts back for details about this mini Tesla coil.
Get one here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW
Vortex II Coin Bank
Vortex II Coin Bank: interplay of potential energy of gravity and conservation of angular momentum- a simulation of a decaying orbit. Fun with every coin saved!
Get this beautiful little engine here:
From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Stirling Engine
Stirling Engine: a very pretty and fully functional model of the famous external combustion heat engine, powered here by a tiny alcohol lamp (with an almost invisible flame). Heat engines produce mechanical motion from a difference in temperature- here the glass cylinder and piston side is kept at high temperature via the flame (to expand the gas within), and the cool side is the metal cylinder and displacer piston which acts as a heat sink to re-cool (and contract) the gas and then send it back to be heated again each cycle. This module also includes a tiny generator and LED circuit. Swipe to see more detail and watch the engine power up. This closed-cycle regenerative heat engine design is attributed to Scottish engineer Robert Stirling back in 1816.
Get this puzzle ball here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Flippe Puzzle Ball
Flippe Ball Puzzle: this ball is a puzzle that explodes and flies apart when spun. The puzzle is made of three identical pieces and a ball bearing which mysteriously locks the pieces together only to release them after a period of spinning. The main challenge is to fully explain why this spontaneous disassembly occurs. Swipe to see a slow motion boomerang loop of it coming apart- and how conservation of momentum has the three equal mass pieces on equally spaced trajectories (120°) with the ball bearing remaining stationary at the center. A product of puzzle master George Bell.
This device and similar ones available here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Demonstrator Kits
Iron Filing Field Detector: visualizing the invisible- the magnetic field lines around a dipole bar magnet. In the presence of a magnetic field, ferromagnetic materials (such as iron) temporarily become magnets. Here the iron filings become dipole magnets and link up and align like tiny compass needles to follow and reveal the magnetic field lines associated with the permanent magnet underneath. Viscous silicone oil temporarily keeps the iron particles suspended yet allows for rotation and repositioning under the influence of the magnetic field.
Get this amazing (and affordable) reproduction here:
From engineDIY: BUY NOW: Tesla's Egg of Columbus
This version comes with a 35mm solid aluminum sphere.
Get the aluminum phiTOP "egg" here: BUY NOW phiTOP
Tesla’s Egg of Columbus: an aluminum ellipsoid egg (PhiTOP) mysteriously spins and stands upright in this modern version of Tesla’s famous demonstration from the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago that first showcased the principles behind wireless power transfer and his AC induction motor. The base has no moving parts- instead special copper windings (very similar to Tesla’s original design) form four electromagnet coils on a circular steel core, and a special circuit supplies each with AC currents in such a way that a rotating magnetic field is created. This rotating magnetic field from the coils under the concave glass induces electric eddy currents to flow in the aluminum ellipsoid- these currents then create their own magnetic field which oppose the initial fields underneath and pushes the ellipsoid to spin. Finally, the ellipsoid top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top.
Available in four colors and designs:
BUY NOW: Glass Water Tops
Glass Hydro-Top: under centripetal acceleration a liquid will flow to create a cylindrical surface parallel to the axis of rotation. This blown glass dreidel contains a small amount of colored water that when spun resembles a blue gemstone banded around the rim. A unique design with fun physics!
From Amazon: BUY NOW Drop Timer
Oil Drop Timer: immiscible liquids (typically, colored oils in kerosine) in two connected containers with interesting semi-translucent white and opaque black oils in this variation on the bubble timer theme. The oil in each container falls through a small drop forming hole in between clear walls of acrylic- note how surface tension forms the drops into nearly perfect circles and regulates the size of the drop formation. In addition the drops fall at terminal velocity with smaller drops falling faster than larger ones. One of my favorite inexpensive physics toys.
Get this amazing sculpture here:
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Square Wave Horizon
See also: The Square Wave (Original)
Square Wave Horizon: a second incarnation of Ivan Black’s Square Wave interactive kinetic sculpture- in this version 20 interlocking right angle metal rods are mounted horizontally with accompanying base and grips at each end which allows one to rotate the structure to and fro. Waves propagate, folding the structure into a tight curl- and a reverse snap will bring it back to the initial flat square state. An important design feature is that each right angle rod is limited to move through about 45 degrees, and all through parallel axes, allowing for the beautiful rotational wave motion via a cascade of angular momentum transfer.
Get this spark generator here:
From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Handheld Tesla Coil
See other inexpensive tesla coils in my collection
Handheld Tesla Coil: each pull of the trigger discharges a large capacitor (seen through the clear window) with a loud pop and a tiny lightning bolt then streaks from the tip. In this variation of the famous air core double-tuned resonate transformer invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891, the 10 cm long sparks are made possible by a very high voltage, but are made fairly safe due to a very low current (mA)- the discharge feels like a light sting (but don’t touch the electrode- it gets hot). This battery powered version is friendly for demonstrations, such as exciting an ampule of neon gas to glow brightly during the high voltages discharges (swipe to view in slow motion).
Versions of this puzzle avaioable fron these sources:
From CuriosityBox: BUY NOW Raketti Physics Brain Teaser
From Etsy: BUY NOW Raketti Physics Puzzle
Raketti Puzzle: a favorite physics brain teaser in my collection- the challenge is to remove the cone topped cylinder from the hole without touching the bottom container (no fair using sticky tape). It can be done in a matter of seconds! The solution to this puzzle (like others featured here) relies on some fun physics principles.