If you put a bunch of metronomes on a wobbly platform, they will eventually sync up. But given the nature of the universe to tend toward disorder, why do some things seem to defy this basic law of physics? Veritasium explores the science at work when things work their way into synchronized patterns.
THE BEST Physics
Try to balance a bowling ball on a circular object, and you’ll almost certainly fail. But engineer Stepan Ozana shows how it’s possible to do just that with a machine. It uses a principle called LQR and REXYGEN control software to monitor the ball’s position and to rapidly move the wheel back and forth to keep the ball from falling.
After impressing us with a LEGO car that can climb over a stack of books, the Brick Experiment Channel is back with a simpler vehicle design challenge. The plan? Dial in the right mix of traction, gearing, wheelbase, and weight balance to climb the steepest sheet of glass possible. And then, start cheating.
Mathematician mc2 shows off a neat digital simulation that shows how a string with 32 balls hung from it might behave when swung like a pendulum. It starts out smoothly enough, but as they slow down, chaotic movements bring the orbs closer to the fulcrum. We’d love to see how this looks in the real world.
Between the risks of injury and the often precarious locations, parkour and freerunning can be pretty exciting to watch. SciShow goes beyond the athleticism to the physics of the sport, digging into the things that need to happen mechanically to climb walls, vault over obstacles, and land without trauma.
The Action Lab conducted an interesting (and seemingly dangerous) experiment by running backward off of a moving trailer to see if his motion would negate the forward motion of the vehicle. You’d think he’d fall on his face doing this, but he has physics on his side. Regardless, we don’t recommend trying this at home.
The guys at the Hydraulic Press Channel are always on the lookout for things that hold onto so much energy before failing that they explode catastrophically. Paper does the trick quite well, and now we see that solid glass spheres have similar explosive potential.
Everything you’re watching and reading has already happened – even if it was just a few seconds ago. It’s Okay To Be Smart gets really deep with an exploration of how time is relative, and therefore experienced differently for each person depending on their place in the universe.
Top fuel dragsters can accelerate from 0 to 335 mph in 3.6 seconds. While sheer horsepower is part of the equation, their massive rear tires are just as critical. Driver61 explains why dragster tires are designed the way they are and the physics that help them grip like mad and launch cars down the drag strip like a rocket.
Now that The Action Lab has painted a room in the blackest and glowing-ist paints, he’s renovated his temporary space again. This time, he covered its walls, ceiling, and floor entirely with mirrors. Despite the reflections seeming infinite, he explains how they eventually drop off.
Solo Slow-Mo Guy Gavin Free turned his macro lens towards a piece of lab equipment called an ultrasonic homogenizer, a device that rapidly vibrates to combine liquids. To capture it moving up to 30,000 times per second, he had to get out the big guns, a Phantom V2511 camera to record movements at 170,000 fps.
Musou Black is said the be the blackest paint you can buy at the moment, absorbing almost all visible light. After painting some small objects with the super-dark stuff, The Action Lab created a room just so he could paint it entirely black. The Rolling Stones would be proud.
Tanker trucks are a common sight on highways. This fascinating physics simulation created in SIMULIA XFlow gives us a look into what happens when a partially-filled truck hits its brakes and the fluid inside starts sloshing around. It also shows the impact that adding baffles can have on reducing the “slosh force.”
If you want your paper airplanes to stay airborne for a long time, you could add motors to it, or you could watch this clip from Wired and paper airplane expert John Collins and learn a thing or two about the four main aerodynamic forces that that influence your folded paper’s flight.
Launching a rocket to the Moon isn’t quite as simple as just going straight up and into the sky. Exploring Space provides a great layperson’s explanation of the mechanics at play, starting with an orbit around Earth, a gradual transition to the Moon’s orbit, and descent to the lunar surface. Lear more about orbital mechanics here.
Most airplanes run on some kind of fossil fuel. But physics expert Tom Stanton recently built an airplane that runs entirely on compressed air. The model plane is based on the diaphragm air-powered engine that Tom previously built, and its fuel tank is an ordinary plastic soda bottle.
A while back, YouTuber Mr. Michal showed off a simple railway he built from coils of wire, batteries, and magnets. Now, he’s back with a much longer and more complex train set that still operates on the same electromagnetic principles. This time, the track measures in at over 20 meters long, or about 66 feet.
Combining vinegar and baking soda inside a soda bottle creates an explosive amount of pressure – enough to launch the bottle sky high. Nick Uhas wanted to see not only how far he could make a soda bottle fly horizontally using this method, but also what would happen if he super-sized the experiment using a 5-gallon water jug.
After building a supersonic baseball cannon, Devin from SmarterEveryDay and his friends turned their attention to the business end of the cannon. The goal of their latest experiments? To see how many leather baseball gloves it takes to stop a baseball moving at 1.3 times the speed of sound.
The opposing forces of magnets can produce a tremendous amount of energy, and can even be used to levitate and move trains along a track. In this clip from Magnetic Games, he demonstrates these physics at work, though on a smaller scale using a bunch off-the-shelf neodymium magnets he got from Supermagnete.
C4D4U seems to have an obsession with Tetris. A while back, the CG artist showed us what the game might look like with puzzle pieces made from Jell-O, and now we get to see what happens when those same pieces get moldy and covered with hair. They remind us of Sully from Monsters, Inc.
Physics can be so much fun. The Lutetium Project shows how a dropper filled with a mixture of water, alcohol, and dye dripped into an oil bath can create beautiful and unexpected patterns thanks to their differences in surface tension. For more droplet fun, check this out.
Destin from Smarter Every Day and Shane from Stuff Made Here have had a little friendly competition going on to see who could hit a baseball furthest through engineering. Now, the two have teamed up to examine exactly how Shane’s explosively-charged home run bat works its magic, in glorious slow-motion.