Forces

Gyroscope in a suitcase

Gyroscopes are strange enough when you can see that they are spinning, but if you can't they are truely bizzare. This consists of a suitcase with a large gyroscope built in.

This was built as a show demo and has an integral motor and battery, so it will spin itself up.

This is a powerful counterintuitive demonstration of the effects of angular momentum, it will sit at an angle on a rotating platform, lift up when you go around a corner, or apparently spontaneously start spinning when you switch off the motor.

Jumping wire

This is a very standard piece of physics (Biot-Savart law) which Dave had always assumed was important but not strong enough to simply experience yourself. On the offchance while in the lab with some magnets he had a go, and it works rather beautifully. Turn on the current one way and the wire jumps to the left and then back again with the opposite current.

Cantilever bridge

Building the shortest bridge is easy, but to build the medium length one visitors need to balance the bridge they are building out into the river by extending their structure out on the shore side too, and then stacking extra blocks to balance those that stick out furthest. Once the medium sized bridge is built, spanning the widest section of river is a matter of scaling up the same principles, which encourages builders to really think about what they are doing.

Repeating Vacuum Bazookas

The vacuum bazooka is a classic demonstration, you attach a vacuum cleaner to the side of one end of a pipe, cover the end with a piece of card and then drop a projectile down the other end and a the projectile flies down the tube and out the other end.

I got a bit carried away and worked out various ways of building repeating vacuum bazookas, because it sounded like fun (and because I could).

The Vacuum Revolver

Giant hand model

A great way to teach how muscles and tendons work as you can't push a tendon, so you have to find another one to pull, as well as the anatomy of the hand and arm.

This works great as a supervised demonstration, but it could be built as an exhibit for a museum.

This version was built a long time ago in a student living room, we could do a much neater job today, but it is such an effective demonstration we wanted to list it.