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Topic: Newton's Cradle  (Read 3065 times)
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fizzysister
« on: June 16, 2004 01:25:41 PM »

I didn't make this myself, it was a birthday present from my boyfriend, he made me a Newton's Cradle. I really love it, it doesn't work quite right, but it does some fun things. Well, fun to me, I'm a physicist! Wink
« Last Edit: June 21, 2004 04:07:56 AM by fizzysister » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2004 02:13:49 PM »

Wow!! He is very talented! I always loved playing with these!
What did he use for the weights?
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fizzysister
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2004 02:16:26 PM »

The weights are brass door knobs, they really catch the light when it's going. Smiley
(Unfortunately we think that might be partly why it doesn't work quite right, cos they are slightly hollowed.)
« Last Edit: June 16, 2004 02:21:58 PM by fizzysister » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2004 03:16:51 PM »

1.  tell your boyfriend that he's super cool for crafting that bad boy present

2.  you're a physicist, that's so cool.  i love Feinman, he's my secret idol, although i know he's cliche in the world of physics.

3.  do they really have to be solid?  or is it more that they're not perfectly round objects, and when they hit, the not-round shape causes them to off at a different angle?
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2004 06:05:26 PM »

i thought the weights just had to be as inelastic as possible to prevent any bounce-back and get maximum transfer of momentum. i guess though if they have a hollow spot, momentum will be transferred into the air space instead of straight through to the next weight. am i making shit up? i'm only a physics fan. like i read the physics storybooks that are in english instead of greek letters.
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Astromage
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2004 03:23:08 AM »

Thank you for your lovely comments about my Newtons Cradle and it was my pleasure to make something for Fizzysister! It was also fun for me as well to see how it worked as I am also a physicist and it made a welcome break from my PhD work.

I don't think that the weights not being perfect spheres will have caused much of a problem with direction as the point of impact is spherical and the effect of air resisitance on the rest of the weight would be negligible. The hollow part may cause some trouble as it will change the way that the momentum is transferred across the body.  However, I believe the main problem is that there is a very small gap (less than a mm) between the weights and this means that the momentum is being used up to move the weight to the point of impact instead of going through to the next weight. When I measured the weights originally it was difficult to get the exact dimensions due to the spherical shape and so the holes for the thread are slightly out. If I were to  build another one I would use my micrometer to get the exact measurement of the widest part of the sphere and even compensate in the other direction and put the holes closer together to get the weights touching.   

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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2004 05:44:47 AM »

bummer about the gap.  it's good to know the real reason behind it, even though us non-physicists like to pretend that we had a clue as to why it wasn't working exactly, perfectly correct.

it looks really cool though!!  great work Astromage!!
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