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Al Tobias (wat4y) - Office: Gibson S123 & Physics 218, (434) 924-0538

Physics Demo Manual

Demonstrations are cataloged according to PIRA Bibliography


Due to Physics Building renovations, the lead time to set up demo requests has increased due to the need to transport equipment across campus. Please be kind and let me know well ahead of time what you need.

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 Motion In One Dimension
 Motion In Two Dimensions
 Newton's First Law
 Newton's Second Law
 Newton's Third Law
 Statics Of Rigid Bodies
 Applications Of Newton's Laws
 Work and Energy
 Egg in a Sheet
 Reaction Cars
  video  - Ballistics on Air Track
 Ballistic Pendulum
 Fire Extinguisher Rocket Cart
 Water Rocket
 Rocket Tricycle
 Methanol Rocket (Explode a Milk Jug)
 Match Rocket
  video  - 2-Liter Bottle Rocket
  video  - Hovercraft
  video  - Air Track Collisions
  video  - Newton's Cradle Collisions
  video  - Battering Ram Collisions
 Gauss Gun - Elastic and Inelastic Collisions
  video  - Double Ball Bounce
  video  - Air Table Collisions
 Rotational Motion
 Properties of Matter

Methanol Rocket (Explode a Milk Jug)


To demonstrate either the conservation of the linear momentum or can be used to demonstrate the gas laws (pressure increase with temperature).


Pour 2-2.5ml of Methanol alcohol into a dry empty plastic milk jug and swish it around the jug. Mount the jug tightly on the methanol rocket setup rubber stopper and pop the HV supply power on. The HV will produce the spark on the electrodes and ignite the methanol vapor. The milk jug will either/and launch or explode.


The HV power supply sometimes gets funny ground problem connection so it is advised to turn the HV on via a well insulated power strip, not on the HV unit itself.


  • Methanol Rocket Setup
  • High Voltage Power Supply (0-5000 vdc)
  • Methanol
  • Milk Jar