Sandscape Spontaneous Stratification 

Get this particular sand kinetic art here:

From Amazon: BUY NOW: Sandscape Kinetic Desk Toy

Click here for more amazing types of kinetic sand art. 

Sandscape Spontaneous Stratification: a striking feature of this sand motion desk toy is the formation of striped layers. Typically pouring stuff together results in further mixing, yet here, when the sand mixture descends through a gap, the resulting pile is ordered into sorted layers. The larger rounded dark grains separate from the smaller sharp-edged white grains forming the layers you see here. The darker grains alone would stack into a steeper pile (larger angle of repose) than the white which would form a less steep pile. 

Sand Triangles Kinetic Toy

This vintage toy is no longer in production (I found this on on eBay). Here are some sand sculptures that also depend on the angle of repose of the granular medium used: 
 
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Sandscape Sculptures

Sand Triangles Kinetic Toy: physics of granular materials- matter with unique properties between those of solids and liquids- as demonstrated with this simple, oddly satisfying, vintage item by Naef Toys. Granular materials, such as the sand in this toy, flow but also stack with a characteristic angle of repose as can be seen here- the triangular peaks that form always have the same peak angle. The angle of repose mostly depends on the shape of the individual grains, rounded pieces cannot stack as steeply as rough shaped ones. 

Kinetic Sandscape

This version is very well made and shows the phenomena of spontaneous stratification better than most versions I've seen: 
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Kinetic Sandscape 

Kinetic Sandscape: the phenomenon of spontaneous stratification is a striking feature of this sand motion desk toy. Typically pouring stuff together results in further mixing, yet here, when the sand mixture descends through a gap in the air bubbles, the resulting pile is ordered into sorted layers. The larger rounded dark grains separate from the smaller sharp-edged white grains forming the layers you see here. The darker grains alone would stack into a steeper pile (larger angle of repose) than the white which would form a less steep pile. The stratification process is a slow one in this device, here about 30 minutes have been condensed to the 60 second IG format. 


Sand Shaker

See more photos and video of this amazing exhibit at the artist's online gallery: Sand Shaker by Charles Sowers 

Visit the Exploratorium 

Sand Shaker @exploratorium: a thin layer of white sand is subjected to vibrations on top of a circular plate in this exhibit created by artist Charles Sowers at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. When granular substances like sand are rapidly shaken, they often take on the properties of fluids through a process called vibrofluidization. Strange non-Newtonian fluid behavior is seen in this sand when the frequency of vibration is adjusted to 16Hz (shown here in 240fps slow motion)- amazing complexity arising from simple and regular motion! ? With special thanks to the Exploratorium! 

Sand Pendulum

Frank Oppenheimer, founder of the Exploratorium Museum, demonstrates the sand pendulum display in these images from the 1970s. 
 
Visit the Exploratorium 

Sand Pendulum @exploratorium: a swinging pendulum maps out a beautiful sine curve on to a conveyor belt. The belt moves at constant speed such that the sand creates a graph of the pendulum’s position as a function of time. With special thanks to the Exploratorium! 

Magnetic Sand Hourglass

Get one from these fine sources: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Sand Timer 
From Amazon: BUY NOW Magnetic Hourglass 

Magnetic Sand Hourglass: ferromagnetic sand collects above a neodymium magnet in the wood base. Each particulate of ferromagnetic iron becomes a temporary dipole magnet in the presence of the magnetic field in the base. The tiny dipoles link up north ends to south ends, creating interesting patterns that reveal the magnetic field lines. 


Magic Sand Wand Puzzle

This puzzle was produced in the 1990s, sometimes found on eBay (currently two avialable):

From eBay: SEARCH NOW: Magic Sand Wand Puzzle

Wikipedia has a good introduction to the possible mechanisms of the Brazil nut effect 

Magic Sand Wand Puzzle: this week’s physics brain teaser- move the steel ball through the sand to the other end of the tube. Amazingly it can be done in less than 6 seconds! Hint: spinning won’t help this time. The solution to this vintage puzzle relies on some interesting physics concerning granular convection. Answer below and swipe to reveal solution. 

Sand Paperweight Toy

Available from these fine sources: 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Sand Globe Toys 

From Amazon: BUY NOW Sand Globe Toys: Winter Theme

A common version of this toy is for football fans: 
From eBay: BUY NOW Sand Football Paperweight Toy 

Wikipedia has a nice introduction to the amazing world of granular material science 

Sand Paperweight Toy: physics of granular materials- matter with unique properties between those of solids and liquids- as demonstrated with this simple toy. Granular materials, such as the sand in this toy, flow but also stack with a characteristic “angle of repose” as can be seen here as pyramid like ridges that form over the images of penguins. 

Dual Axis Sand Pendulum

Available in many styles and colors: 
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From eBay: BUY NOW Sand Pendulum  

Dual Axis Sand Pendulum: the kinetic energy trades back and forth between swinging toward the support arm and then swinging perpendicular to that path tracing Lissajous figures in the sand. The sand slowly dissipates the energy and the traced figures get smaller so the next one fits inside the last. Coupled oscillations like this can occur when multiple modes of motion (degrees of freedom) are available to the system.


Magnetic Sandglass

Get one here: 
From Educational Innovations: BUY NOW Magnetic Sand Timer 

Magnetic Sandglass: ferromagnetic sand collects above a neodymium magnet in the wood base. Each particulate of ferromagnetic iron becomes a temporary dipole magnet in the presence of the magnetic field in the base. The tiny dipoles link up north ends to south ends as they attempt to align with the magnetic field lines. These stacks topple over due to gravity creating interesting patterns.