Table of Mechanics

Mechanics (1D): Motion in Two Dimensions

Mechanics (1F): Newton's First Law

Lecture Demonstrations

Relative Motion

PIRA classification 1E

26 Demonstrations listed of which 20 are grayed out.

Grayed out demonstrations are not available or within our archive and are under consideration to be added.

1E10. Moving Reference Frames


Demonstration Name



1E10.10 or 1C10.10



A bulldozer powered by an electric motor moves in the same or opposite direction as the sheet which is moves beneath it to show Relative Motion in the content of addition and subtraction of velocities.


Moving Blackboard

Using a large movable reference frame on wheels and a walking student, equations of relative speed can be deduced by non-science majors.


Frames of Reference Film


The classic 1950s film is available on DVD, VHS and 16mm film. (Approx. 30min), archive of film


Stick on the Caterpillar

A small stick placed on the top tread of a toy caterpillar moves twice as fast as the toy.

1E20. Rotating Reference Frames


Demonstration Name




Foucault Pendulum - "Model"

A pendulum is allowed to swing freely on a table that you can rotate by hand, slowly, to show the motion of a Foucault Pendulum from a non-inertial frame. Note the plan in which the pendulum swings doesn't rotate with the table.


Foucault Pendulum

A ceiling mounted Foucault pendulum swings freely. Note the line along which the pendulum swings at the beginning of class. Later on, noting that the line is different highlights the fact that the Earth is rotating.


Short Foucault Pendulum

A 70cm pendulum uses a method of nullifying the precession which is due to ellipticity.


General and Historical Article

Discuss a current murder mystery novel and some history of Foucault's work.


Foucault Pendulum on a Turntable

A pendulum is mounted on a rotating turntable.


Rotating Frame

A monkey puppet sits on a rotating reference frame to help the student visualize a non-inertial frame.


Foucault Pendulum Trace

Have a student sit on a rotating chair with a table on his lap. A pendulum releasing ink marks a clear pattern on the paper.


Geometric Model

A geometric model helps correct some common misconceptions about the plane of oscillation of the Foucault pendulum.


Foucault Pendulum Diagram

A diagram shows the variation of a Foucault pendulum's precession with latitude on Earth.


Rotating Platform

A rotating room that seats four at a table, and has four possible speeds.


Catch on a Rotating Platform

Students try to play catch on a large rotating platform.


Rotating Coordinate Frame Visualization

Experiments performed on a rotating frame are projected onto a screen through a rotating dove prism. Centrifugal force, Coriolis force, angular acceleration, cyclones and anticyclones, Foucault pendulum can be demonstrated.

1E30. Coriolis Effect


Demonstration Name




Draw the Coriolis Curve - Vertical

Mount a rotating disk vertically, drive a pen on a cart at constant velocity in front of the disk, drawing the Coriolis curve on the disk. The speeds of the disk and cart are variable.


Coriolis Gun

A clamped dart gun is fired by an instructor sitting on a revolving chair into a target board.


Coriolis Gun

A spring gun at the center of a rotating table fires into a target at the edge. View it from the top.


Walking on a Merry-Go-Round

Go to a merry-go-round or use a large rotating platform and walk on it. You will feel a very strange "force".


Spinning Coriolis Globe

A ball on a string is threaded through the pole of a globe. Set the globe spinning and pull on the string to see the ball move to higher latitudes.


Coriolis Dish and TV

A ball oscillates in a spherical dish at rest, and follows various curved paths when the dish is rotated at different speeds. A TV camera is mounted to the rotating frame.


Coriolis Rotating Platform and TV

A puck is launched on a rotating platform and the motion is followed with a TV camera.


Ball on Turntable

Roll a ball across a slowly rotating turntable.


Leaky Bucket on Turntable

A can with a hole is mounted above a rotating table. As the table turns, the stream of water is deflected. It leaves a trail on the turntable that can be analyzed after.


Coriolis Trajectory

Roll a ball across a slowly rotating turntable, and have the ball trace out its path, by rolling it through dust, or coating it in ink or something similar.


Rotating Water Flow Table

Food coloring used to mark flow is introduced at the edges of a circular rotating tank of water with a drain in the center. An overhead camera rotates with the tank to show the motion within the rotating frame.



fw: RelativeMotion (last edited 2019-08-06 18:26:47 by srnarf)