Day 97: A Pretty Awesome Energy DemonstrationPosted: February 13, 2013
For a couple of years now I’ve been dropping a shot-put on silly putty to show that the kinetic energy of the shot transfers to the putty in the form of thermal energy, as measured by an increase in temperature. I wrap a Vernier temperature probe in silly putty, start data collection, and drop the shot. I usually see a 0.1 or 0.2 degree C increase in the temp, nothing too serious but it definitely gets the point across. This year I took it a bit further by scaling up to a bowling ball dropped from half a meter or so. I fully expected to break the probe, in the name of science of course, but it actually survived two drops. Even cooler was a full 1 degree C increase in the temp of the silly putty! It was also impressive when the putty (it’s actually magnetic silly putty I made in a workshop a while back) shattered pretty seriously on impact.