Newton's Pendulum - 12.02

Newton’s Pendulum is a device that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy via a series of swinging spheres. When one on the end is lifted and released, it strikes the stationary spheres; a force is transmitted through the stationary spheres and pushes the last one upward.

If one ball is pulled away and is let to fall, it strikes the first ball in the series and comes to nearly a dead stop. The ball on the opposite side acquires most of the velocity and almost instantly swings in an arc almost as high as the release height of the Last ball. This shows that the final ball receives most of the energy and momentum that was in the first ball. The impact produces a shock wave that propagates through the intermediate balls. Any efficiently elastic material such as steel will do this as long as the kinetic energy is temporarily stored as potential energy in the compression of the material rather than being lost as heat.

With two balls dropped, exactly two balls on the opposite side swing out and back. With three balls dropped, three balls will swing back and forth, with the central ball appearing to swing without interruption.