PIRA 1D50.40 Central Forces: Pail of Water, Pail of Nails
Instructions / Notes:
- Swing each pail QUICKLY in a large vertical circle by its handle. DO NOT SWING THE PAIL IN THE
DIRECTION OF THE STUDENTS.
- Demonstrate that the effect works for liquids and solids.
- The string exerts a centripetal force that keeps the pail in circular motion.
- Because of inertia, the contents of the pail always move tangentially to the pail's direction of
motion, preventing them from falling out of the pail.
- The pail must swing quickly because the movement of the pail must be fast enough to overcome
the downward acceleration on the contents due to gravity at the top of the swing. This is why
you can hear the nails hit the walls of the pail at the top of the swing.
Demo Staff Notes:
- Fill one of the large pails with a small amount of water.
- Fill the other pail with the nails.
Photo Shows Demonstration as Used at the University of Texas at Austin.
Last Updated 2023 - University of Texas at Austin Physics Dept.
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