Educational Innovations

Magneview Flim

Get some magnetic viewing film here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Viewing Film 

Magneview Flim: making the invisible visible and revealing the hidden physics of our everyday world. Microscopic cavities in this green film are filled with oil and tiny flakes of Nickel metal- like compass needles, the flakes align with the magnetic fields revealing the complexity of the north and south pole domains of these magnets. Two of the disk magnets have multiple north and south poles and look like gears with teeth- these are rotors from small motors. 

Electric Motor

Get this easy to assemble kit here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Simplest Motor Kit 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Electric Motor: in its simplest form!- coil, magnet, and battery. The wire of the coil has an insulating coating- and this coating is carefully scrapped off one side on each end. When current passes through the coil it becomes an electromagnet and the permanent magnet repels it making it spin- as it turns the currents goes on and off depending if the copper posts are in contact with the bare wire (current on) or the still insulated wire (current off). I have motors with fewer parts- but they operate on more complex principles.


Pencil Hyperboloid

Choose your color and get one here: 
From Etsy: BUY NOW 
Hyperboloid Pencil Holder 


don't forget a set of pencils: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW 
Colored Pencil Sets 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Better yet- get some thermochromic color changing pencils! 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW 
Heat-Sensitive Pencils 

Pencil Hyperboloid: a perfect gift for any math teacher- the precisely oriented holes in this base direct 16 pencils to reveal a hyperboloid, the 3D surface traced by revolving a diagonal(skew) line, the outline of which is the conic section of the hyperbola. A doubly ruled surface for any desktop!

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Radiometers

Radiometers available from these sources: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Radiometer  (with disk shaped vanes)

A wide variety available here, including some nice blown glass displays: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Radiometers 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Radiometers: three “light mills” from my growing collection of radiometers (now at 23 so far), including a double with two spinning flys in the same partial vacuum volume. Here the initial light is from a LED, and then a halogen incandescent bulb is turned on which activates the motion. This device goes way back, invented in 1873 by the famous chemist Sir William Crookes when he was investigating partial vacuum environments. Light heats up the “vanes” which then heat up the very thin gas left in the partial vacuum within the bulb- the black side of the vane is hotter than the silver side and any gas molecule that comes into contact with it flies off at a faster speed imparting impulse to the rotor.


Boulliant de Franklin (Hand Boiler) Collection

A variety of shapes and colors are available 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW: Hand Boilers 
From Amazon: BUY NOW: Hand Boilers 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Bouillant de Franklin Collection: my collection of vintage hand boilers, physics toys of blown glass that feature a reversible liquid-gas phase transition and demonstrates the relationship between temperature and pressure in an enclosed volume. The dyed fluid within each is typically dichloromethane which is in both liquid and vapor states. Heat from a hand, or from this catering warming tray, increases pressure in the bottom bulb pushing the liquid to the top bulb. Originally made famous by Benjamin Franklin, the first to describe the physics of its operation. 

Electrostatic Interactions

Get a similar and fun DIY kit here:

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Electrostatics Kit 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Electrostatic Interactions: a triboelectric effect toy from the 1990s. The styrofoam spheres are given an acquired net negative charge by shaking the PET plastic container, and the foam beads are then attracted to the container wall but repel each other. (The foam balls pick up electrons when they strike the container walls.) A segment of PVC pipe also acquires a negative charge when rubbed with a paper towel, and here the foam spheres jump a centimeter or more when the pipe segment is brought near. In contrast, a segment of acrylic tube can acquire a positive charge, and will instead attract the styrofoam pellets as it is brought near the container. A demonstration of the invisible electric fields that are part of our everyday world. 

Drop & Pop

Available from these fine sources: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Dropper Popper
From Amazon: BUY NOW Drop and Pop Toys

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Drop & Pop: stored elastic energy. The elastic potential energy of the inverted rubber is released upon impact sending the half-sphere to hit the ceiling. Upon impact the popper reconfigures back to its original shape in the blink of an eye, shown here recorded at approximately 480fps.


Piezoelectric PZT Cell

This classroom demo in avaqilable here: WINSCO Piezo Demo

Here is a fun kit that uses a piezo ignghter to make small explosions:

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Piezo Popper Kit 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Piezoelectric PZT Cell: encased in acrylic is a cylinder of ceramic PZT material which when suddenly compressed generates more than 30kV allowing a spark to jump across a 1cm gap. This vintage 1970s demonstration (still available) uses a lever and cam mechanism to compress the piezo ceramic which is connected via conductors to the spark gap. The piezoelectric effect is the ability of certain materials to generate electric charge when deformed under mechanical stress. Lead (Pb) Zirconate Titanate (PZT) is the world’s most widely used for making sparks- you probably own a piece in your lighter wands or on your barbecue or stove where a spring mechanism is used to strike the piezo cell. 

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Fire Piston

Get a set here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Fire Piston Demonstration 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Fire Piston: rapid adiabatic compression creates enough heat to ignite and incinerate a small ball of cotton. Similar physics to how Diesel engines ignite fuel without a sparkplug. Adiabatic processes are those in which heat does not flow from the system to the environment, achieved here by the short duration of the compression- to get a flame it has to be done quickly with some force! 


Ooze Tube Viscosity Contrast

Many colors (and two sizes) to choose from: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW  Ooze Tube 3 Colors 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Ooze Tubes 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Ooze Tube Viscosity Contrast: this set of ooze tube timers comes with 3 mixtures of polyisobutene fluid, each with a different viscosity where green always wins the race: green (thin), yellow (medium), and red (thickest). A curious periodicity in the rate of flow is related to the formation of non-spherical bubbles as the air and fluid trade places (an hour shown in time-lapse). The fluid also displays the “liquid rope-coil effect” where the fluid thread coils and stacks as it lands on the pooling surface.The physics of the liquid rope-coil effect is pretty complex. Here is a recent scientific paper on the topic with nice illustrations. 
Journal of Fluid Mechanics: Multiple coexisting states of liquid rope coiling 

 

Quantum Re-Excitation: Phosphorescence 

Need a UV laser pointer? Get 3 lasers (one of each color) for under $10: 
From Amazon: BUY NOW red+green+blue(UV) laser pointers

Get inexpensive phosphorescent sheet material here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Glow-in-the-dark sheet

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Quantum Re-Excitation: a green laser should not normally be able to induce a phosphorescent glow, but if the material is already excited a green laser can re-excite it as seen here. Glow-in-the-dark phosphorescence is a quantum mechanical phenomenon where high energy photons (like those from a near UV laser pointer) are absorbed by electrons which are then boosted to higher energy levels. The glow comes from these electrons emitting lower energy photons (green in this case) as they jump down through a series of energy levels back towards their ground state. If an electron is only partially down the cascade path, lower energy photons from a green laser can bump it back up to the excited state. Quantum mechanics is all about discrete jumps in energy like what is happening here. 

Electric Motor Build

Get an easy to assemble kit here (or just buy the replacement wire to build your own like in the video): 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Simplest Motor Kit 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Electric Motor Build: One of the most important inventions consists of only three basic components as shown here: coil, magnet, and a battery with lead wire posts. The wire of the spinning coil has an insulating coating on it- and this coating is carefully scrapped off one side of the thin wire on each end. When current passes through the coil it becomes an electromagnet and the permanent magnet repels it making it spin- as it turns the current goes on and off depending on if the copper wire posts are in contact with the bare wire side (current on) or the part of the wire with the insulating coating intact (current off). When the current is off momentum keeps the rotation going until the next push. The physics of converting electric energy to rotational kinetic energy- and a fun DIY project! 


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Repelling Marbles Puzzle

Get this affordable and fun kit here:

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Mystery Marbles Puzzle Kit 

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Mystery Marbles Puzzle: a physics brain teaser (now available as a kit) what's going on here? Three glass marbles can move but stay separated in this liquid filled tube no matter the orientation- why do they not touch? Swipe for reveal of components. 

See also: Poly-acrylamide Polymer Vanishing Act

The PhoTOP

Get a PhoTOP from these fine vendors (comes with laser pointer!):

From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW PhoTOP 

Another amazing spinning device by Prof. Ken Brecher! Get his other spinning tops here:
From Etsy: BUY NOW: PhiTOP, PiTOP, eTOP, iTOP, DeltaCELT

Note: this site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

The PhoTOP: phosphorescent glow illuminates the intricate path of a 405nm laser pointer beam on a balanced spinning disk. Let the disk set alone for a few minutes to allow the traces to fade- and repeat again and again to experiment making new patterns.