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Tea Candle Steam Engine

Get one from these fine sources: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Tea Candle Steam Engine 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Tea Candle Steam Engine 

Other interesting engines available here: Simple Heat Engines

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Tea Candle Steam Engine: a functional piston steam engine complete with boiler and flywheel. Takes about 2 minutes to get going after the candle is lit. The invention that powered the industrial revolution on a desktop! Made by Wilesco. 

Thermochromic Beam Down Mug

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Beam Down Star Trek Mug 

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Thermochromic Beam Down Mug: Pour up some hot coffee and watch the crew of the USS Enterprise leave the ship and rematerialize on the planet surface with this color-changing physics mug. The color change employs leuco dyes, thermochromic chemicals that have two reversible forms, one colorless when wqrmed above a theshold temperature.

Raketti Puzzle

Versions of this puzzle avaioable fron these sources: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW Raketti Physics Puzzle 

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Raketti Puzzle: a favorite physics brain teaser in my collection- the challenge is to remove the cone topped cylinder from the hole without touching the bottom container (no fair using sticky tape). It can be done in a matter of seconds! The solution to this puzzle (like others featured here) relies on some fun physics principles. 


The Lollipopter

Many styles/colors to choose from: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Lollipopter Kinetic Art 

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The Lollipopter (The Helicone): one of my favorite interactive kinetic sculpture designs. With a bit of practice one can master the transformation in both directions: A snap of the wrist imparts angular momentum to the "petals" which then rotate until an internal mechanism stops their motion with predetermined spacing- a helix transforms to an abstract pine cone. A second snap of the wrist in the opposite direction returns the helix. A creation by artist John Edmark. 

 

Balancing Bottles

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Balance Bottle Dock 

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Balancing Bottles: serve with physics style this season displaying this design where the combined center of mass of the wine rack and two bottles is directly above the base of the wood rack- because sometimes it takes two bottles of wine to bring life into balance! ?? 


The Swinging Sticks

The Swinging Sticks Desktop Toy version from their website: 
From GeelongShop.com: BUY NOW The Swinging Sticks
 

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The Swinging Sticks: a driven coupled chaotic physical pendulum as kinetic art where the placement of the rods' axes of rotation are engineered to exhibit the widest range of interesting motion. Four AA batteries and a simple electromagnetic kicker circuit in the base gives a tiny push to a magnet in the end of the large rod, keeping the system in motion for over a year! Perhaps one of the most famous physics toys out there as it was featured in the movie Iron Man II (sitting on the desk of Pepper Potts).

Plasma Arc Lighter Physics

Get one here- but like any source of flame- use with caution!  
From Amazon: BUY NOW Plasma Arc Lighter 

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Plasma Arc Lighter Physics: dual arcs of plasma exceed 1100 C (2000 F) on this flameless lighter. The breakdown voltage of air is about 3000 Volts per mm. Thus the circuit in the lighter must provide about 12,000 volts to produce this 4mm arc. The circuit is a simple one made possible by a transformer with very fine wire windings, a transistor, and a powerful lithium-ion battery (USB rechargeable). The circuit produces high frequency current oscillations in the coils that in turn produce the needed high voltage. Like having a Tesla coil in your pocket! 

Iron Filing Field Detector

This device and similar ones available here: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Field Demonstrator Kits 

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Iron Filing Field Detector: visualizing the invisible- the magnetic field lines around a dipole bar magnet. In the presence of a magnetic field, ferromagnetic materials (such as iron) temporarily become magnets. Here the iron filings become dipole magnets and link up and align like tiny compass needles to follow and reveal the magnetic field lines associated with the permanent magnet underneath. Viscous silicone oil temporarily keeps the iron particles suspended yet allows for rotation and repositioning under the influence of the magnetic field.


Euler's Disk

Get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Euler's Disk 

Wikipedia has an excellent introduction to the physics of Euler's Disk 

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Eulers Disk: (best with sound on) this toy exhibits the motion of a “sprolling” coin, a motion that combines spinning and rolling. Designed with a large mass and very smooth edge, this device takes close to 3 minutes to come to rest- and amazingly, the contact point between the disk and the mirror can reach a speed of more that 200 mph! This video catches the first and last parts of this 2 minute and 42 second run, with two cuts to 240fps slow motion to show the curious motion. Watch the end with the sound on! 

Jupiter Globe by Mova

Available for all the planets and several versions of Earth: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mova Globes: all types 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Mova Globes: Jupiter 

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From movaglobes.com: BUY NOW Mova Globe: Jupiter

Jupiter Globe by Mova: rotating counterweighted globe sealed within a clear liquid filled acrylic sphere. The rotation is powered by light that shines through the semi-transparent Jupiter globe on to solar cells within the globe which drive a motor. But what does the motor push against to maintain the rotation? Believe it or not it uses magnets to push against the Earth's magnetic field like a compass needle. Wonderful physics of all kinds in the design of this clever device. 


Well Balanced Cabernet

Similar wine racks available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Balance Wine Rack 

Many well crafted versions avaulable here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW Wine Bottle Balance

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Well Balanced Cabernet: a carefully engineered acrylic version of this famous demonstration- the center of mass of the rack/wine bottle system is directly over the base providing unstable equilibrium for this balancing act. Suspended here is Hypothesis by Roots Run Deep, an excellent Napa cabernet sauvignon. 

The PhiTop

This great little lab stirrer (which I modified to have a transparent top) can be used in many investigations and demonstrations: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Stirrer 

Inexpensive concave lenses make great spinning platforms- get one here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Concave Lens Spin Station 

Get a PhiTOP in aluminum here (will work nicely in this demo):
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhiTOP 
From Amazon: BUY NOW PhiTOP

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Induced Current Spin-Up: Spinning magnets from the magnetic stirrer induce electric currents to flow in the brass PhiTOP- these currents then create their own magnetic field which opposes the magnets underneath and pushes the PhiTOP to spin. Credit to astrophysicist Kenneth Brecher, the creator of the PhiTOP and this unique means of using Lenz’s Law to spin it up. This top stands up vertically (when spun with sufficient rotational velocity) due to physics similar to that of the tippe-top. The concave lens keeps the top from wandering off of magnetic stirrer. 

The Galton Board

Available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW  Galton Board 

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The Galton Board: 3000 steel balls fall through 12 levels of branching paths and always end up matching a bell curve distribution. Each ball has a 50/50 chance of following each branch such that the balls are distributed at the bottom by the mathematical binomial distribution. One of my favorite finds of 2018! An elegantly designed modern version of the Galton Box invented by Sir Francis Galton(1894) to demonstrate the Central Limit Theorem - showing how random processes gather around the mean. In addition the number of balls in each bin can be predicted by Pascal's triangle (printed on the face over the pegs).


The Heritage Periodic Table

Periodic Table with 83 element samples: 
From Etsy store ProtoshopLLC: BUY NOW: Heritage Periodic Table

See also: The Collector's Edition with 85 samples

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Please note: there are fradulent versions of this with only pictures embedded in the acyrlic being sold on facebook. The link above is the only place to get the actual version. 

The Heritage Periodic Table Display: a comprehensive collection of the chemical elements that can fit in the hand. Embedded in acrylic are actual samples of 83 of the 118 elements- including pure bubbles of the gaseous elements- represented by 75 high purity samples and 7 compounds. 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the world changing periodic system of Dmitri Mendeleev (published in 1869). This table and collection is the creative work of Tim and Cory Marriott of Engineered Labs Protoshop LLC 

The Magic Octagon Coin

Get this new amazing coin here:

From Shire Post Mint: BUY NOW: Magic Octagon Coin

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“Magic Octagon” Challenge: introducing a beautiful copper coin version of this puzzle of successive rotations. Which way will the light arrow point after left and right rotations of the dark arrow? No trickery here- just the math of geometry, symmetry, rotations, and reflections and how our intuitions often fail us upon first attempts. Swipe twice for second challenge. In collaboration with my friends at @shirepostmint 

 

Oil Drop Timer

Available here: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Drop Timer 

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Oil Drop Timer: immiscible liquids (typically, colored oils in kerosine) in two connected containers with interesting semi-translucent white and opaque black oils in this variation on the bubble timer theme. The oil in each container falls through a small drop forming hole in between clear walls of acrylic- note how surface tension forms the drops into nearly perfect circles and regulates the size of the drop formation. In addition the drops fall at terminal velocity with smaller drops falling faster than larger ones. One of my favorite inexpensive physics toys.