Simple Feats of Science: Bed of Nails

We take on this classic science experiment! Zeke Kossover from the Exploratorium explains how he built a bed of nails that he can comfortably lie on, and then we smash a concrete block on top of him! The science is simple, but it’s still fun to watch every single time.

Shot and edited by Adam Isaak

Comments (3)

3 thoughts on “Simple Feats of Science: Bed of Nails

  1. I have a little Suggestion for a simple Feat of Science. Long ago I once saw a segment on a kids Science TV show that explained how energy is amplified through a surface/object. This was shown by dropping a tennis ball, and then dropping two tennis balls (on top of each other). In the later the second ball shot up twice as high due to energy being passed to it from the first ball (like a double bounce on a trampoline).

    The clip ended with an explanation that anyone can add 3, 4, or 5 tennis balls (falling in a line), with the last ball to impact receiving all the energy of the previous balls and shooting into the sky. The bit that stuck with me was what he said next “If you have 9 tennis balls the 9th will have enough energy passed to it that it can launch into space”

    As a kid I immediately went outside and found 4 tennis balls to try this feat of Science. However I failed every time as each ball needs to precisely fall and be in a (very straight) line. They also all need to touch at the same time the first impacts or the energy isn’t transferred. My result was tennis balls shooting off into every direction but up, however the energy transfer was correct, being older I’ve dabbled in creating a device that could drop 9 balls in alignment to test the theory and look forward to one day teaching my kid about it in the backyard.

    I’m sure the Exploratorium and tested would enjoy this backyard experiment.

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