Physics at the University of Virginia
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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
 Rotational Motion
 Rotational Inertia Rods
  video  - Rolling Objects and Moments of Inertia
  video  - Moment of Inertia Wheel
  video  - The Falling Rigid Body
  video  - Vector Nature of Angular Momentum
 Hero's engine
  video  - Precession of Bicycle Wheel Under Gravity Force
 Suitcase Gyro
 Air Gyro
 Euler's Disk
 Tippe Top
 Properties of Matter



To demonstrate gyroscopic phenomena including precession.


Different gyroscopes may be shown. Small gyroscopes may be turned by drill wheel and large ones by buffer wheel. Weights may be hung on large gyroscope to produce torque resulting in precession. Precession time may be halved by doubling the weight. Quantitative measurements can be done using the timer.


  • Timer
  • Buffer wheel
  • Drill Wheel
  • Gyroscopes
  • Weights