Awesome Physics

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.

Bottle Rocket Shock Diamonds

Bottle Rocket Shock Diamonds

Using an ultra high-speed camera and Schlieren imaging, scientists from RMIT University captured incredible footage of the jet bursting forth from a pressurized plastic soda bottle. The shapes that emerge are called “shock diamonds,” which occur due to pressure differences between exhaust and the surrounding air.

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Coughing Compared

Coughing Compared

While we’re all practicing social distancing, it’s important to know how to handle yourself should you feel a cough or sneeze coming on. This fascinating video from Amayu Wakoya Gena at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar uses schlieren imaging to compare how our breath disperses in different coughing scenarios.

Magic of Magnetism & Inductors

Magic of Magnetism & Inductors

Electrical engineer Mehdi Sadaghdar of ElectroBOOM presents a series of simple demonstrations involving magnets, batteries, and wires, each of which might seem magical, but can all be easily explained by science. He might have a goofy approach to teaching, but if you stick around, you might learn a thing or two.

Floating an Anvil

Floating an Anvil

You’d think it would be pretty difficult to get a 110-pound iron anvil to float on top of a liquid, but it’s definitely possible with the right substance. In this clip from Cody’s Lab, he shows how a tub filled with shiny liquid mercury does the trick. The much higher density of the mercury is why this experiment works.

Propeller Tip Vortexes

Propeller Tip Vortexes

When an airplane encounters just the right weather conditions, its wingtips and propellers can generate visible patterns in the air. Redditor cburnett shared this wild footage of the patterns made by the four props on a Hercules C-130. A google search for “propeller vortexes” turns up more incredible images of the phenomenon.

Which is The Strongest Shape?

Which is The Strongest Shape?

The Hydraulic Press Channel took a momentary break from just smushing things for fun, and instead performed a bit of a physics experiment. By creating multiple 3D printed objects of the same weight and mass, but just different shapes, they were able to evaluate which shapes were the strongest of the bunch.

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.

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.

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.

World’s Largest Science Experiment

World’s Largest Science Experiment

You’ve probably heard of the Large Hadron Collider at some point, but do you have any idea what this gigantic machine actually does? Physics Girl visited the CERN facility in Geneva Switzerland to check out this marvel of science, digging into the experiments it’s being used for, and the questions it’s trying to answer.

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.

Pickle Time Machine

Pickle Time Machine

(PG-13: Language) “Science is just magic that works.” exurb1a talks us through the strange science that explains how two pickles placed apart from each other have actually traveled through time at infinitesimally different speeds. Stick around until the end and you might actually learn a thing or two about physics.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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