Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thurs-Demo: The One that Spins you Right Round

It was atmospheric circulation week in geology class and this year I wanted to spend some more time on the Coriolis force (more physics here) and how it affects the predominant wind directions in atmospheric circulation

So this was my setup - a couple of foam balls, separated by a spacer made from a cardboard tube. These are sitting in a tray that's attached to a turntable. The tray has a sheet of cardboard at the bottom so that both balls will roll toward the middle when the spacer is removed. Like so:

But, since we're talking about angular momentum and prevailing winds on a rotating planet, we need to rotate the tray. In this case, I put a camera on the turntable so that the tray is stationary relative to the observer:

But, how could I not include some slo-motion video? Here's the setup viewed from above (at 500fps):

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