Constructing your own Newton’s Cradle
My husband, Lee Blakely, and I constructed our Newton’s Cradle from wood, two long bolts, wire, and weighted metal balls we purchased online. We used JBWeld to affix the wire to our metal balls and connected each side of our wire to the long bolts. It took several adjustments to align the balls in a straight line. If you try constructing your own Newton’s Cradle, you may find it takes some trial and error so don’t give up. We made a few models and found our success varied depending on the type of wire or string used and the weight and mass of the balls.
We found this video from K-Media that shows how to make a Newton’s Cradle from cardboard, marbles, string, and wooden dowels.
Here’s a video explaining the Physics concepts conservation of momentum and conservation of energy demonstrated by the Newton’s Cradle:
Kinetic Art is art that is either perceived as moving or depends on movement for its effect. The Newton’s Cradle is an example of Kinetic Art that depends on movement for its effect. Here’s a Kinetic Artist that also depends on movement for effect. If you listen closely, you may hear him talk about the physics concepts of conservation of momentum and energy.
- So, do you think the Newton’s Cradle is a model for explaining conservation of energy/motion, a piece of Kinetic Art, or a fun toy to play with? Why do you feel that way?
- Did you build a Newton’s Cradle? If so, would you please share a picture and/or tell us about your process?
- Look around your house or yard and let us know what pieces of Kinetic Art you see or if you can find anything that demonstrates conservation of momentum/energy. We’d love a picture and/or explanation of what you found.
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