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Galileo Thermometer

Many versions to choose from- get one here!

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Galileo Thermometer

Galilean Thermometer: time lapse- 60 minutes condensed to 30 seconds. One of my favorite physics toys, but challenging to make into any kind of interesting video. Here a change of about 14 degrees F is shown as the device cools down and the bulbs rise. I filmed the process three times each with somewhat different intermediate states. This thermometer works on Archimedes' principle of buoyancy- as the the water in the column cools down its density increases and objects (glass bulbs) with less mean density begin to rise. The bulbs are calibrated into 2 degree F increments from 70 F to 82 F.

Perpetual Motion Simulator Marble Machine

Available here (in limited supply):

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Perpetual Marble Machine 

Original listing on Etsy: Perpetual Marble Machine

Note: poorly designed knock-offs are being sold widely that are not at all the same device. If the price is less that $150 USD then it is not the same quality device and mechanism as shown here. 

Perpetual Motion Simulator: this marble machine device does not break any laws of thermodynamics- but it sure looks like it! When I first saw videos of this piece of kinetic art I thought the effect was due to video editing, but in fact the base contains a power source and very clever mechanism (swipe twice for clue/partial reveal). An amazing piece of art by William Le expertly crafted from stainless steel wire, doussie hardwood, and undisclosed internal components.

Mini Acoustic Levitator

Get this inexpensive device here:

From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Mini Acoustic Levitator

Mini Acoustic Levitator: small pieces of styrofoam become trapped between areas of higher pressure induced by high frequency sound waves. Ultrasonic transducers placed at the top and bottom are basically speakers that emit sound waves at a frequency of 43,000 Hz, which corresponds to a wavelength of 8mm for dry air. If the transducers are positioned just right standing waves are produce with nodes of low pressure at half wavelength intervals- and low mass objects like these foam pellets will be suspended against gravity when placed near one of these nodes. Here we see a stack of three pellets with a spacing of about 4mm which is the expected distribution of the nodes. To place the pellets into the sound stream without disrupting the standing waves this device comes with a small screen with a handle which allows the sound waves to flow through the holes in the mesh and trap piece of foam. Although the device uses sound it appears silent as the frequency used is way above that which humans can hear (20Hz to 20kHz).

 


Magnetic Fidget Physics

I got this fun device here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Haptic Magnet Toys

Magnetic Fidget Physics: iron rich ball bearings temporarily become dipole magnets and repel each other- and when manipulated they keep their distance. In this design the ball bearings snap into place above one of the seven neodymium magnets embedded within the 3D printed disk.

Spinning Arc Plasma Lighter

Get a rechargable circular plasma ignition source here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Spinning Arc Lighter

Plasma Arc Lighter Physics: a rotating arc of plasma exceeds 1100 C (2000 F) on this flameless lighter. The breakdown voltage of air is about 3000 Volts per mm. Thus the circuit in the lighter must provide about 12,000 volts to produce this 4mm arc. The circuit involves a transformer with very fine wire windings, a transistor, and a powerful lithium-ion battery (USB rechargeable). The circuit produces high frequency current oscillations in the coils that in turn produce the needed high voltage- basically a Tesla coil for your pocket! 

UFO Mirascope

Similar devices available here:

From Curiosity Box: BUY NOW: Mirascope with tiny Orange Octopus
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Mirascope 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mirascope 

UFO Mirascope: two parabolic mirrors create a 3D image above the actual object. The image of the tiny alien made here is not a hologram and is produced solely by reflection of light rays between special concave mirrors. Love the space saucer theme on this version. The mirascope design principle was discovered circa 1969 by Landry and Elings at UC Santa Barbara.


Half Seirpinski Octahedron Fractal

Get this amazing 3D print here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: Seirpinski Pyramid

or print it yourself:
From Thingverse: Seirpinski Pyramid

Half Sierpinski Octahedron Fractal: this 3D printed math sculpture is one half of the sixth iteration of what is called “the octahedron flake” a 3D fractal based on the Sierpinski triangle. To make this fractal, on each iteration an inverted triangle is removed from the center of the previous triangle, and if this process is repeated indefinitely one gets the famous fractal. This 3D print used rainbow silk PLA to create the beautiful color gradient base on the .stl files by Rick Tu. Another example of math brought to life via 3D printing! 

 

Anamorphic Locomotion Cup & Saucer

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. 

Bismuth Maglev Rod

Get this amazing and affordable science sculptue here:

From Etsy: BUY NOW: Bismuth Maglev Rod

Click here to see other diamagnetic toys and scuptures 

Bismuth Maglev Rod: Small magnets are trapped, suspended and floating, within the notch of a rod cast from the diamagnetic metal bismuth. Diamagnetic substances only have magnetic fields of their own when placed in an external magnetic field from another source- here the small floating magnet supplies the external field. Diamagnetic fields are pretty weak though, so a powerful neodymium magnet sits above the gap on the top of the rod, and its height is adjusted to help lift the small magnet against gravity. Another amazing creation by Ernie McElhannon of Element83.


Noble Gas Display and Tesla Coil

Get this display (Tesla Coil included!) here:
From Engineered Labs: BUY NOW: Noble Gas Display

See also this amazing Periodic Table of the Elements 

Glowing Noble Gas Collection: five noble gasses are subjected to the high frequency electric field of a miniature Tesla coil. Encased in acrylic and carefully labeled, this spectacular display collection is the creative work of Tim and Cory Marriott of Engineered Labs Protoshop LLC- and each display comes with this Tesla coil! The high frequency/high voltage field of the coil transmits energy through the thick acrylic to excite the atoms of these gases, revealing the unique color of each gas, which is actually due to a mix of photon frequencies emitted from electron energy transitions specific to each element- the basis of spectroscopy.

In-Feed Google

1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova

Available for all the planets and several versions of Earth: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: all types 

From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: 1790 Terrestrial

From eBay: BUY NOW 
Mova Globes: all types 

Octopus Stand available here:
From pyrofarms: BUY NOW
OctoStand in Metal

1790 Terrestrial Globe by Mova: rotating counterweighted globe sealed within a clear liquid filled acrylic sphere. The rotation in a Mova globe is powered by light that shines through the semi-transparent map image on to solar cells within the globe which drive a motor. But what does the motor push against to maintain the rotation? Believe it or not it uses magnets to push against the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle. Wonderful physics of all kinds in the design of this clever device. The featured map is a faithful recreation of a globe famous for its accuracy at the time by Giovanni María Cassini and highlights the voyages of James Cook.

 


Hero's Engine

This live steam engine is available here:

From EngineDIY: BUY NOW: Hero's Engine

Hero’s Engine: the very first steam engine ever devised, the Aeolipile is a radial steam jet reaction turbine, an a invention attributed to Hero of Alexandria in the year 1 AD. Water within the spherical container is heated to produce steam which exits through nozzles directed at right angles to the radial direction, and by Newton’s third law these jets produce a torque about the rotation axis. There is no historical record of this engine being put to practical use in ancient times- except perhaps as the world’s first physics toy!

Harbottle Air Pressure Demonstration 

This item came to me in my Spring 2022 Curiosity Box subsciption:
Get (or give!) a Curiosity Box subscription here: JOIN NOW: The Curiosity Box

A nice glass version is available from this trusted seller:
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Harbottle Demonstration 

Harbottle Balloon Demo: a regular untied balloon remains inflated- one can even look down the neck of the balloon and see inside! Just blow up the balloon inside the bottle and then cork the hole in the opposite end- in so doing the inside of the balloon is experiencing the full force of air pressure, but the exterior of the balloon is protected from the crush of air pressure by the rigid wall of the bottle. Air pressure at sea level is 10.1 Newtons of force per each square centimeter of area (14.6 pounds per square inch). The bottle allows a pressure differential, pressure on the inside but much less on the outside of the balloon. The inside air pressure would lead to 12.5 pounds of force pushing outward on a 2 inch diameter balloon- more that enough to balance the elasticity of the rubber balloon material. Take the cork out and now both sides experience the same air pressure and the elastic force is no longer balanced. A fun demonstration reminding us that we live at the bottom of a deep sea of atmosphere! 

Rhombic Blocks Mathematical Puzzle

This beautifully made puzzle available here:: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Rhombic Blocks 

Rhombic Blocks Mathematical Puzzle: There are 9 possible ways three rhombuses can be joined together along a common edge, and similar to pentominoes, these 9 tri-rhombs can tile a polyhedron, in this case a hexagon. There are 14 solutions to this puzzle, and one where no same-colored pieces touch. A beautiful math discovery by puzzle master Stuart Coffin.


Ferrofluid Magnetic Tree Sculpture

Similar ferrofluid devices available here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Ferrofluid Sculptures 

Ferrofluid Magnetic Tree Sculpture: the 'Nano Tree' by Concept Zero designs using gold colored ferrofluid which can be manipulated with a handheld magnet. The spiky structure is due to the balance between the forces from the focused magnetic fields (from a neodymium magnet in the base connected to an iron rich bolt) and the forces from liquid surface tension on the colloidal ferromagnetic liquid. 

Ferromagnetic Elements

Starter set of 10mm cubes of 99.9% pure elemets available here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Pure Element Cube Samples

The main 4 ferromagnetic elements are: Fe, Co, Ni, and Gd

Ferromagnetic Elements: which metals from the periodic table experience strong attraction towards a magnet? Here are seven samples- 1 cm cubes of 99% pure elements: Ti (titanium), Fe (iron), Co (cobalt), Ni (nickel), Cu (copper), Gd (gadolinium), and W (tungsten)- which of these metals are ferromagnetic? Swipe once to check your answer, swipe twice to see how some are more strongly ferromagnetic than others. Although magnets are familiar objects, the physics of ferromagnetism is very complex and is described by the quantum mechanics of intrinsic particle spin and the specific electron configurations of solids and molecules.