Physics at the University of Virginia
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Lecture Demonstrations Laboratory

Physics Rm. 202

(434) 924-6800

The Demonstrations Manual

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Motion In One Dimension
Motion In Two Dimensions
Newton's First Law
Hit the Nail on the Head
Tablecloth Jerk
Bottle and Pencil
Motion of the Center of Mass
Hanging Masses
Water Hammer
Relativity Car
Razor Scooter
Ball Collection
Newton's Second Law
Newton's Third Law
Statics Of Rigid Bodies
Applications Of Newton's Laws
Work and Energy
Rotational Motion
Properties of Matter

Hit the Nail on the Head


To give insight into Newton's Law of Inertia.


Roll cloth turban style and place on volunteer's head. Place anvil on top of cloth, and 2x4 on anvil. A nail can be driven into the board with no pain felt by the volunteer.


  • Anvil
  • Cloth
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Small 2"x 4" board