Physics

How a Tesla Valve Works

How a Tesla Valve Works

Invented by Nikola Tesla, this ingenious type of valve uses a series of teardrop-shaped channels to restrict the flow of gases going one direction, by allowing smooth flow the other direction. NightHawkInLight built one such valve and demonstrates how it works by igniting propane gas flowing through it.

Cool Physics Toys

Cool Physics Toys

It’s been a while since we heard from YouTuber brusspup, but he’s back, and this time he’s showing off nine kinds of desktop toys, each of which shows off some interesting aspect of physics. We owned at least a few of these as kids, but there are definitely some unique ones here too.

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The Science of Snow Driving

The Science of Snow Driving

If you live somewhere that snow coats roads in the wintertime, you’ll want to check out Engineering Explained’s latest clip, as Jason walks us through the variables at work when driving on slippery surfaces, and provides some tips on how to maintain control on the snow.

The World without Friction

The World without Friction

Right alongside gravity, friction is one of the most important physical forces at play in the universe. Without it, some very strange and dangerous things would happen. The What If channel ponders what sort of madness might happen if we lost friction for even a minute.

How a Drinking Bird Works

How a Drinking Bird Works

If you’ve ever played with one of those drinking bird toys, you know it can be quite fascinating to watch as it dunks its beak in and out of a glass of water. Engineerguy Bill Hammack pops off the bird’s festive blue hat to explain the thermodynamics which make the nearly endless fun happen.

Why Can’t Planes Fly Backwards?

Why Can’t Planes Fly Backwards?

While jet engines do have the ability to reverse their thrust to slow down, or even taxi backwards, it’s not possible for an airplane to do the same in the sky. Bright Side provides a layperson’s explanation of the physics and safety issues that prevent this from happening.

Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp

Pisces Kinetic Art Lamp

This unique accent lamp shows off the physics of standing waves, persistence of vision, and stroboscopic effects. By spinning a string at varying speeds, and illuminating it with colorful LEDs, a variety of cool sine waves emerge, with preset effects like northern lights, volcano, eclipse, carnival, and more.

Why Exhaust Notes Sound Different

Why Exhaust Notes Sound Different

Whether you love the flat-plane V8 grunt of a Shelby GT350, the snaps and crackles of a Jaguar F-Type, the whirr of a Porsche 911, or the brapp of a Mazda RX-7, every car makes a different sound. But as Donut Media explains, it’s way more than the pipes and mufflers that make a car’s exhaust note sound the way it does.

Destructible Environment Demo

Destructible Environment Demo

Game developer Dennis Gustafsson is working on a voxel-based engine that features incredible environmental destruction physics. While the video posted by Bluedrake42 is lacking in gameplay, to see how the world reacts to damage is one of the holy grails of gaming we’ve been promised and has yet to be delivered.

How to Build a Lava Moat

How to Build a Lava Moat

Want to keep neighborhood rugrats off your lawn? Minutephysics and Randall Munroe of xkcd have got you covered, with their step-by-step plan for installing a moat filled with molten hot lava. Sadly, it would cost about $60,000 a day to keep it running unless you dig down deep enough and power it with geothermal energy.

Why Some Days Aren’t 24 Hours

Why Some Days Aren’t 24 Hours

If you ever had to explain the Earth’s timekeeping method to an alien civilization, you might find it challenging. As Minute Physics explains, what we call a day isn’t exactly what most of us think. For a more detailed explanation, the What Is a Day interactive lab is worth checking out.

Matereality

Matereality

Filmmaker Roman De Giuli used crisp macro photography of iron powder, magnets, pigments, and glitter to capture this visually spectacular short film, which despite its otherworldly looks was created without any CGI. Music by Son-J.

The Bizarre Physics of Fire Ants

The Bizarre Physics of Fire Ants

You never want to get too close to a mound of fire ants. But from the comfortable distance of your browser, they’re neat little buggers. Vox explores some of the fascinating ways in which colonies stick together to form structures, and how they can act as both a solid or fluid.

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What If You Had X-Ray Vision?

What If You Had X-Ray Vision?

On the surface, the power to see through anything seems like a pretty useful superhero ability. But as What If explains, not only would you need an X-ray emitting sidekick to take advantage of your power, but your viewing subjects would probably end up getting cancer unless they wore safety aprons.

Randall Munroe: How To

Randall Munroe: How To

xkcd creator Randall Munroe’s latest book offers solutions to real-world problems. But don’t expect to get advice you can actually use. Instead, you’ll receive overly-complicated and impractical methods, in what he calls “world’s least useful self-help book.” Drops 9/3/19.

Angular Momentum Demo

Angular Momentum Demo

Utah State University Professor Boyd F. Edwards uses a Hoberman sphere to demonstrate the conservation of angular momentum. After spinning the sphere to generate angular momentum, he pulls its string to shrink its size, and its speed increases dramatically.

Color Unmixing Machine

Color Unmixing Machine

Destin of Smarter Every Day put together a device that demonstrates reversible laminar flow. He uses it to blend together several different colors of corn syrup, then geeks out about how reversing its direction can completely unmix the blended fluids.

The Engineering of Droplets

The Engineering of Droplets

The Engineer Guy explains how droplets form. It happens when fluid is allowed to drip such that it takes a form with the smallest surface area – a sphere. By vibrating the fluid’s container, one can control how fast droplets form. This knowledge is used in printing, painting, and even medical applications.

How Sound Works in Rooms

How Sound Works in Rooms

Ever wonder why the sound echoes in an enclosed room? This 2013 clip from Acoustic Geometry, demonstrates some of the key principles of direct and reflected sounds using a combination of NERF disc guns, moiré patterns, and more than 1100 feet of fluorescent string.

Moving Trampoline Stunt

Moving Trampoline Stunt

You’d think that bouncing on a trampoline while it’s being driven down the road would be a bad idea. You’d probably be right, but at least the guys from the Dunking Devils Squad have physics on their side as the forward momentum of both the trampoline and jumpers keep them in sync.

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Topsy Turvy

Topsy Turvy

The man we know as Vsauce Michael of the channel formerly known as DONG is shows off a nifty plaything. Designed by Pacific Puzzle Works, this oversize top conceals a smaller top inside that automagically spins when you spin the larger top. Available as a kit or fully-assembled.

Supernova

Supernova

Maxim Zhestkov’s experimental film was inspired by the nature of our universe – in which stars explode, leaving behind the matter to create new things. There’s just something so satisfying about the millions of particles flying around in this mesmerizing CGI short.

Ball Won’t Fall

Ball Won’t Fall

A neat little loop captured from The Royal Institution’s fascinating video about trapping particles in a particle accelerator. The machine shown here is a rudimentary version of a Paul Trap – a saddle-shaped device that can hold an object in its center as it rotates.

The Physics of Surfing

The Physics of Surfing

If you’re into surfing, you’re actually using your body and mind to take on the interactions between fluid mechanics, tectonic geography, weather patterns, and more. TED-Ed’s Nick Pizzo provides a brief explanation of how these systems of nature work together.

Magnetic Fields in Slow-motion

Magnetic Fields in Slow-motion

To show how easy it is to visualize magnetic fields, Magnetic Games tossed a super-strong neodymium magnet into a pile of magnetite sand sitting on an impromptu trampoline. As the magnet and particles fly through the air, the patterns emerge.

The Spoke Blur Effect

The Spoke Blur Effect

Have you ever noticed how when a bicycle wheel rolls along the ground that its top spokes appear to be much more blurred than the bottom ones? Michael of DONG explains the physical and optical properties that bring this effect to life.

Shock Absorbed

Shock Absorbed

A wonderfully satisfying video of a 100kg (~220 lb) weight being dropped directly onto a TEIN shock absorber to show not only how well it can cushion such force, but how smoothly it can do it. It’s a pretty magical effect.

The Mystery at the Bottom of Physics

The Mystery at the Bottom of Physics

(PG-13: Language) “The universe is as mad as a bucket of coked-up ferrets.” Exurb1a looks at universal constants and laws of physics which provide us with context for everything, and help us make sense out of the seemingly random nature of things.

The Coupled Pendulum

The Coupled Pendulum

A simple, but fascinating construction that demonstrates the energy transfer that occurs when two pendulums are placed along the same string. Each one almost completely stops as its momentum moves to the other one like some kind of a seductive dance. (Thanks Kate!)

Viscoelastic Cocktail

Viscoelastic Cocktail

A hypnotic video of a martini glass filled with some kind of black fluid that is both thick and viscous, and exhibits elastic properties as well. This unspillable gunk looks like the lifeblood of some sort of demonic creature.

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