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# Chain Fountains

If you are looking for real-life magic, check out a chain fountain. When a lightweight chain or string of beads falls out of a jar, the chain begins to lift up into the air, seemingly defying gravity. How does this sorcery work? Surely the ancients had a satisfying explanation for this phenomenon and surely modern physicists all agree about how it works. Hmmm. Then again, education is rather weird these days, so maybe not.

When the bead is pulled up from the jar, the bead rotates and gains a bit of angular momentum. When the bead has to turn around and go down, it has to rotate in the opposite direction, reversing the direction of the angular momentum.

Because the bead cannot continue to rotate, the energy has to go somewhere.

It goes into the neighboring links in the chain as a force outward from the rotating bead. This creates tension in the chain which pushes the neighboring links in the chain out to the side. When the chain can’t move further out to the side, it moves upward.

In other words, a quarter turn backward rotation energy is stored as the bead is pulled up and then three-quarters forwards rotation energy is released downwards as the bead is pulled down. A downwards release of energy causes motion upwards. When the chain floats up, the velocity of the falling chain will be a bit greater than the standard 9.8 m/s^2 fall rate from gravity.

I watched a video from the Royal Society on this system and they claimed that the energy that lifts the chain up high into the air comes from a push off of the ground when the link is first lifted out of the jar. I think this explanation is misleading and I think that the experiments they used to support their hypothesis were confounded by friction.

It is true that there must be a force to produce the torque which creates the initial bit of angular momentum which reverses when the link is pulled down, but it is confusing and misleading to suggest that the torque comes from a push off of the ground rather than from the upward pull of the chain. A spherical chain link requires no interaction with the ground for the chain fountain effect to occur.

When the educational system is contaminated with bad teaching, it only takes a single generation for knowledge to completely disappear. Sometimes, it takes centuries for it to return. I bet that Euclid, Archimedes, and Decartes understood how a chain fountain worked.

YouTube educations could make or break the present generation. This is quite a terrifying prospect when one sees the sort of material that is being fed to kids today.

That was my list of debunked internet educational materials, but others are on the case as well.

Even baking videos are disseminating misinformation. This is egregious. This has gone too far. I don’t want my children growing up believing that one can make frosting out of melted ice-cream or a parfait out of melted gummi bears. Just think of all of the sticky counters and wasted ice cream and gummi bears! This is positively criminal.

……

When I think about the physics of a chain fountain and the physics of a market economy, I wonder if they work in a similar fashion. During a market bubble, the market floats up into the air, seeming to defy gravity, but once it turns around and faces the earth, it accelerates towards the ground at a faster rate than gravity would ordinarily allow. This can only happen when the velocity of money is fast enough – as it is in a time of accelerated expansion.

This material was first posted on quora.com.

The image in the header is of a 12 V aquarium fish tank round night vision light up LED air air curtain bubble thing.