Jump to content

ZZ's Blog

Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    31
  • comments
    9
  • views
    3,648

The Slinky

ZZ

450 views

Most people have played with a slinky before, it goes down as one of the most classic yet simple toys of all time probably. My dad told me the other day about it being the 70th anniversary of the slinky being up for public sale. The story goes, the inventor - Richard James - thought of the idea when he was using springs to create instruments to stabilize boats in rough seas. While doing this he accidentally knocked a spring off of a shelf and watched as it fell down the stairs in a graceful manner as opposed to tumbling down. 

The Slinky demonstrates the effects of friction and inertia, potential and kinetic energy. Since inertia determines how resistant an object is to a change in motion, this clearly has pertinence in the motion of a slinky. This resistance to a change in motion, which is greater in metal slinkies than plastic ones, keeps the object moving down the stairs. Friction plays a role in the motion of the slinky as well because as the slinky falls down the stairs, the bottom of it does not move when it hits the next step, thus containing the object's momentum on the top part of the slinky - propelling it to the next step. There's also a clear transfer between potential and kinetic energy in the slinky's fall. As the slinky starts with an impulse from its rightful owner, it has potential energy in relation to the next step down. Once the slinky makes contact with the next step this is converted to kinetic energy which will propel it to the next step, and so on.

All in all, the physics behind the slinky is relatively simple, but no one can deny that it's fun to push one down the stairs and watch it go.



0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Terms of Use

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

Copyright Notice

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

×
×
  • Create New...