Table of Mechanics Demonstration

List of Mechanics Equipment & Supplies

Lecture Demonstrations

Rubber Membrane, 1L20.10

Topic and Concept:

Location:

Abstract:

Deform a rubber membrane with a lead ball at it's center witch can represent potential wells and send marbles toward the center.

Equipment

Location

ID Number

Rubber Membrane

Floor Item: ME, North Wall

Lead Ball

ME, Bay A13, Shelf #1

Marbles

ME, Bay B13, Shelf #2

Important Setup Notes:

Setup and Procedure:

  1. Place rubber membrane on table as shown.
  2. Gently place the lead ball on the center of the membrane and guide the system into equilibrium.
  3. After the setup is stable, send several marbles at varying distances away from the lead sphere.

Cautions, Warnings, or Safety Concerns:

Discussion:

This demonstration shows the principles of Einstein's general theory of relativity which roughly states that mass causes space-time to warp and space-time, in turn, "tells" the mass how to move. This is, in essence, how gravity works. The heavy lead ball represents a massive object such as the sun. This massive object causes a significant warping of the space-time fabric. When a much lighter object such as our marble, representing earth or another planet, get near such a massive object, they follow these warps in the fabric. If given the appropriate initial trajectory, the marble will assume an elliptical orbit about the lead ball (such an orbit will not last long since there is energy losses due to friction).

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Videos:

References:

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