Digital physics engines are fun. You can make all kinds of things happen in the virtual world that would be difficult to achieve in the real world. Take, for example, this stack of 55,000 Jenga-like planks which Xepher let his system render over the course of 12 days.
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Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day teamed up with the folks at Soteria Suppressors to create special gun silencers wrapped in transparent cast acrylic, then captured amazing slow-mo footage of them in action using a high-speed camera at a whopping 110,000 fps.
Kyle Hill from Nerdist recently posted a brief clip that shows the crazy stuff that happens when you inject compressed air into a bed filled with sand. We spotted this 2012 video from The Royal Institution that shows much more, and provides an explanation of the physics at work.
Students from the Ithaca College Low Temperature Physics Lab created a neat version of a quantum levitation track. It still uses supercooling and magnets to work its magic, but adds a fun (and literal) twist to by running its course around a triple-twist Möbius Strip.
Veritasium takes a look at a neat physical property – the ability to levitate a lightweight ball or disc atop a jet of water. The trick involves getting the water to flow along one side, runs up and over the object, creating a state of equilibrium which allows it to spin.
ElectroBOOM’s Mehdi Sadaghdar expresses his disdain for “perpetual motion” devices which are claimed to produce more energy than is put into them, thus defying the basic laws of physics. The only thing these guys seem to be able to actually generate are YouTube views.
Beyond its liquid properties, the other cool thing about mercury is that it’s magnetic. Roobert33 shows how electromagnets can be used to change the direction that mercury flows in. It would be cool to build an Escher-style fountain that flows uphill with this method.
Fortunately, it’s starting to gradually warm up in most of the Northern Hemisphere, but when it is cold out, you just want to get somewhere warm as quickly as possible. Minute Physics ponders whether or not it’s better to proceed slowly when you’re freezing your butt off.
SmarterEveryDay looks at the behavior of the unusually strong Prince Rupert’s drop when subjected to the firepower of a bullet. The 150,000 fps slow-mo footage reveals some truly fascinating properties as shockwaves travel through these tadpole-shaped glass droplets.
A mystifying physics demonstration from science teacher Bruce Yeany, in which he shows off a simple device known as a “string shooter.” It uses a motor drive to fling a loop of string into the air and keep it there thanks to their light weight and the inertia that keeps it moving forward.
TheBackyardScientist shares a simple way to create a small fire tornado with no moving parts. The trick is to split the glass receptacle in half and place each half around the flame slightly off center. The wind that comes in through the gaps will create the tornado effect.
The 560th Flying Training Squadron invited SmarterEveryDay for a test flight in the trusty Northrop T-38 Talon, a supersonic trainer jet used by the US Air Force and NASA. It gives us a thrilling glimpse of just how hard it is to handle such powerful birds.
This footage may be 8 years old, but it doesn’t make it any less impressive. Watch as then high school student Anna Gu demonstrates a bridge she made from layered and glued sheets of paper that was so strong that the hook that held the weights failed before it did. Design here.
If you thought that machine that could balance itself on a single point was cool, check out Andreas Eder and Tobias Glück’s robot, which can swing three pivoting sections upright and keep them balanced. It can’t hold on indefinitely, but we’d like to see you do better.
Mike Rouleau shows off a neat bit of tech – a device which stands on a needle-like tip, but keeps itself balanced by constantly adjusting the direction and speed of motors. As one commenter put it: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”