Awesome Physics

Burning Up a Satellite

Burning Up a Satellite

When space junk falls towards Earth, it’s supposed to burn up in the atmosphere. This video from the ESA simulates the conditions of re-entry on a satellite’s solar array plasma wind tunnel. Satellite operators are required to minimize the risk of casualties from falling debris, and this kind of testing can help reduce such risks.

Magnetic Gears

Magnetic Gears

Mechanical gears can change the speed or force by using different sizes and spacing of their teeth. But we had no idea that a similar result could be achieved by spinning discs embedded with different quantities and sizes of magnets. Magnetic Games shows off this surprising behavior in this neat physics demonstration.

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How Film Works

How Film Works

The vast majority of still and video images captured today are shot with digital equipment. But for more than 150 years, film was king. Destin from Smarter Every Day offers a deep dive into the physics and chemistry of film photography, along with some thoughts on the upsides of using the analog medium vs. digital.

Spider-Man vs. Magnetic Balls

Spider-Man vs. Magnetic Balls

While playing around with the physics capabilities of 3D graphics software Blender, Atomic Marvel decided to test its ability to simulate hundreds of thousands of magnetic balls. And the recipient of said balls? None other than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Now Magnetic Games needs to do this with real magnets.

Driving a Wind-powered Car

Driving a Wind-powered Car

A sailboat sailing straight downwind can only match the speed of the wind and never exceed it. But is it possible that a vehicle powered by wind could defy this limitation of physics? Derek from Veritasium risked life and limb to test just that, as he took a ride in an experimental three-wheeler called Blackbird.

Levitating Hot Dog Cooker

Levitating Hot Dog Cooker

Inspired by science instructor Bruce Yeany, YouTuber NightHawkInLight wanted to see if he could cook a hot dog while it floated in the air. NightHawk improved on Yeany’s compressed air levitation, using a nichrome and copper coil to heat his wiener instead of a blowtorch.

Is Gravity an Illusion?

Is Gravity an Illusion?

Howdy, folks! It’s science time! Veritasium explains how gravity isn’t a force according to the General Theory of Relativity. He then demonstrates how the way we are moving through space-time while standing on Earth isn’t really any different from what an astronaut experiences as their rocket accelerates through space.

Multi Diamagnetic Levitation

Multi Diamagnetic Levitation

With the help of the guys at the Magnet Tricks channel, Magnetic Games shows off a neat effect that occurs when placing tiny magnets between a block of pyrolytic graphite and a strong magnet aimed at them from at a distance. These mini magnets spin, dance, and shuffle about, and can even levitate off of the surface.

Lightsaber vs. Hand

Lightsaber vs. Hand

A while back, Hacksmith Industries built a working lightsaber with a terrifying 4000º plasma blade. Now James is here to test whether there’s a safe way to put his hand into its beam, along with a lesson on the physics of heat transfer.

Longest Simple Electric Train

Longest Simple Electric Train

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.

Making the Deepest Voice

Making the Deepest Voice

We all know that inhaling helium can make your voice higher, and many of you know that sulfur hexafluoride can make it sound deeper. But Cody’s Lab is here to demonstrate what happens when you breathe in perfluorobutane, a non-toxic gas that’s almost twice as dense as the sulfur hexafluoride.

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.

Thermochromic Car Pigment

Thermochromic Car Pigment

The guys at DipYourCar are known for selling peel-off Plasti Dip coatings which give cars an eye-catching new look. Here, they show off a unique black pigment that turns clear when exposed to heat, so it exposes the car’s underlying lime green paint when in the sun or splashed with warm water.

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The Secret of Syncronization

The Secret of Syncronization

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.

Bowling Ball Balancing Machine

Bowling Ball Balancing Machine

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.

LEGO Slope-climbing Experiments

LEGO Slope-climbing Experiments

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.

32-Point Pendulum

32-Point Pendulum

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.

The Science of Parkour

The Science of Parkour

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.

Running Backward off a Moving Vehicle

Running Backward off a Moving Vehicle

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.

Hydraulic Press vs. Glass Sphere

Hydraulic Press vs. Glass Sphere

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.

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Facts About Time

Facts About Time

Time isn’t as simple as what shows up on your phone’s screen. Erin McCarthy of Mental Floss offers up a number of interesting tidbits about the nature of time, how humans perceive its passage, how space and time relate, and the different ways of measuring time itself.

When Is Now?

When Is Now?

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.

How Dragster Tires Work

How Dragster Tires Work

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.

Making a Mirrored Room

Making a Mirrored Room

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.

Ultrasonic Obliterator Slow-Mo

Ultrasonic Obliterator Slow-Mo

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.

Glue Traps vs. Humans

Glue Traps vs. Humans

Glue traps are used to catch bugs and rodents. But if you had enough of them, could you use them to snare a full-grown human? The guys at The King of Random put that idea to the test, culminating with an experiment where they tried to stick people to a wall.

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