Mass Spectrometer Model

A mass spectrometer separates ions by their mass. This an analogy using ball bearings and a magnet.

To demonstrate approximately how a mass spectrometer works for an outreach project at the Museum of Science and Industry in ManchesterĀ  I built a ball bearing deflector. It works by having a ramp, that you roll ball bearings down, and at the bottom they go past a magnet. The small ball bearings are deflected more than the large ones, a bit like the ions in a real mass spectrometer. Apparently it went down well.