Cycloid Ramp

cycloid ramp1

cycloid ramp2

  • The amount of time required for a rolling ball to reach the bottom of a cycloid ramp is, surprisingly, height independent. Test this out by releasing two balls, simultaneously, from two different heights along the ramp (bottom picture). Balls always collide at the lowest point where the two ramps meet. Place the metal tube on the ramp, at lowest point, to allow students to hear the simultaneous clang made when balls reach bottom.
  • The  Brachistochrone problem can be discussed by showing that a ball travels more slowly down an un-curved ramp than it does down a cycloidal one.
  • Numbers along curve indicate height from bottom.
  • Located in L02, section B2.

Dropper Popper



  • The “Dropper Popper” bounces about 2 meters high, no matter what height it is released from.
  • The rubber half-sphere (as seen on left, in above image), can be turned inside out (as seen on right). Stored energy is instantly released when popper turns right-side-out; and, if resting on a flat surface, will launch about 2 meters high. To trigger this, popper must be dropped, flat, onto a hard surface.
  • Hold and release popper as shown in top image, away from body.
  • If having difficulty dropping it perfectly flat, spin it like a frisbee while releasing.
  • Located in L02, section B4.

Light Bulb Energy Usage



light bulb energy usage

light bulb energy usage2

  • When bulbs consume the same amount of power (same wattage) their brightness differs substantially- the incandescent bulb is much dimmer than both the compact fluorescent and the LED, which are of comparable brightness.
  • Bulb power can be adjusted using sliders. Meter connected to bulb tells both watts and volts.
  • Located in L01, section B5






Astro-Blaster Demo Picture

  • Purpose: Illustrate principles of conservation of momentum
    and energy, specifically during the creation of a supernova.
  • Hold tip of AstroBlaster as shown; release when hanging straight
    down. Blasted capsule can reach heights of over 5 times the drop height.
  • May consider wearing protective goggles for this one.
  • Location: L02, section B5


High/Low Road


High/Low Road Demo Picture

  • Purpose: Demonstrate properties of gravitational potential
  • Balls start moving and end with identical velocities, but ball on longer track traverses path more quickly.
  • Prove that balls end with identical velocities by showing they fall the same distance from the end of the track. Use carbon paper to show location of impact. 
  • Located in L02, section B2


Energy Ball


Energy ball demo photo

Energy ball demo photo 2

Touching both electrodes at the same time completes the circuit and causes the ball to light up. If one person touches one electrode and another person touches the other the ball will not light up; but if the two people then touch each other the ball will light up. A circuit chain consisting of multiple students can be created.

  • Located in L01, section B-4.


Energy in Capacitor


Energy in Capacitor demo photo

  • Purpose: Compare the energy stored in a capacitor to the
    potential energy of an object raised vertically by the electrical discharge
    of the capacitor; measure the efficiency of a motor.
  • Located in L01, section B1.


Boil Water with Vacuum


Boil Water with Vacuum Demo Picture Boil Water with Vacuum Demo Picture 2 Boil Water with Vacuum Demo Picture 3

  • Evacuate chamber with vacuum pump and water boils.
  • Explanation: Room temperature water contains enough energy to boil but won’t because atmospheric pressure pushes in on the liquid from all sides, preventing vapor bubbles from forming.Remove pressure and water will boil.
  • Demo located in L02, section C-3.





Coaster Track


Coaster Track Demo Picture
Coaster Track Demo Picture 2

  • Purpose: Nice for illustrating gravitational potential energy
  • Use ring stands and duct tape to set up.
  • Two different coaster tracks are on the shelf. One of them
    is more flexible and easier to use.
  • Located in L02, section B2