Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Flip Toy

At my kids' last dentist visit they each picked out one of these flip toys (sorry, don't know the real name of these toys) shown below.

When inverted, as shown in the image below, the toy will sit for a couple of seconds and then flip a couple of feet into the air!

What's going on here?  When inverted, the toy will eventually revert back to it's original shape.  When it does, the rubber inverts very quickly, applying a downward force on the surface the toy is lying on.  Newton's third law states that for every force there is an equal and opposite force.  There is a strong downward force on the floor/table, resulting in the floor/table pushing upward on the object, causing it to fly in the air.  Very cool!

The best part of these toys is experimenting with different surfaces.  Which surface causes the toy to fly highest in the air?  It's also fun testing one of these flip toys as it sits on another object, such as another flip toy!  Does it fly higher in the air off a rubber surface or a hard surface?  The results might surprise you.

The moral of the story here is that there's plenty of science to be found in cheap, five cent toys such as these!

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