Fun With Energy Transformation

By Johna Till Johnson

One of the pleasures of having a blog is the ability to quickly share really cool discoveries with like-minded people.  This morning, my friend Steve Crandall sent me the link to his most recent blog post entitled the delight of turning potential energy into kinetic energy.

As Steve writes in his most excellent post:

You’ve all seen videos of large domino chains.  By standing a domino on end you are increasing its potential energy.  Energy that can be released later when the domino tips, turning stored potential energy into the energy of motion – kinetic energy…..With a bit of cleverness you can weave a pile of wooden sticks into a structure storing the energy that you used to flex them for later release.  Fifty sticks will give you and idea – a thousand will give you something wonderful.

He’s not kidding. Wish I had the time and floor space to try it!

If you want to try it, Steve’s post also has a how-to-do-it video.

By the way, I first met Steve at an event hosted by Coburn Ventures. We bonded over shared interests in physics and energy—along with the fact that we both have synesthesia, in my case quite mild and in his, rather intense.

15 responses to “Fun With Energy Transformation

  1. Mesmerizing. Absolutely mesmerizing.


  2. Johna Till Johnson

    Thanks Reid! Some fun with the girls when they’re older….


  3. I’m torn.. I really want to show this to my 10 year-old son, but I’m also scared he will demand to try it :)


      • Thank goodness my sister owns a dollar store, we are gonna need a LOT of popsicle sticks. This job will need a different foreman; my attention span is about 12 minutes, tops. :/


        • :-)

          Yes, a large one of these is quite a test of concentration—like a house of cards, one false move as you are building it and you have to start all over again. (Actually, I recall from my own time building these, you really want to incorporate some safety breaks—gaps that you fill in only at the end—so that if one section collapses, it doesn’t take down the entire structure.)


        • Clarification: my experience is with the more standard domino chain reactions:

          But similar principles apply…


  4. Wow! I’ve got to try this. I wonder if paint stirrers have enough elasticity? I loved listening to the kids, particularly in slow-mo and reverse. Thanks for posting.


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  7. That is a hoot! Love it!


  8. Reblogged this on The Quotidian Hudson and commented:
    THis is too cool. Thanks Johna and Vlad!


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