Slinky Physics Page!


by Bob Barrett

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Remember the Slinky is just a spring that stretches easily.
  • How stiff a spring is represented by the spring constant, k
  • k is measured in newtons force over meters (US units pounds/foot)
  • the slinky's k is very low and its mass is BIG
  • Most springs can send waves down [along] their length [longitudinal wave, like sound] but the waves are usually too small to see and too fast to distinguish.
  • But with Slinky's low k and big mass, the waves down the length slowly and they easy to see.
  • Slinky's LOVE to vibrate or swing against their axes and can have large oscillations - over two feet in amplitude. These transverse waves [like water waves] shake the Slinky in a direction perpendicular to its length.

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