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Magnetic Linear Accelerator

Have you ever seen one of those roller coasters that shoots out of the station at an insanely high speed? These roller coasters don’t need to climb hills first to use gravitational potential energy—their power comes from magnetism and energy conservation. A series of electromagnets (magnets made by pumping electrical current through coils of wire) alternately push and pull on the rollercoaster, pumping up its speed pretty quickly. Some engineers have imagined using the same idea to launch objects into space (from, say, a base on the Moon) without using rockets. In this project, you’re going to build a very simple magnetic accelerator to launch steel balls at targets. What could possibly go wrong?

In this project, you’re going to build a very simple magnetic accelerator to launch steel balls at targets. What could possibly go wrong?

Problem: Build a simple magnetic linear accelerator.
Materials

      Wooden ruler with groove along the middle Four small. roughly 5/8” in diameter Tape Hobby knife Safety Goggles Procedure 1.g. Place the ruler (flat side down) on a table. neodymium magnets) Nine steel balls. .. powerful magnets (e.

placing each about 2. Repeat step 2 with each of the remaining three magnets. To the right side of each magnet.5” from the ruler’s end. 4. Use the tape to secure the magnet to the ruler and the knife to trim the tape to the size of the magnet. about 2.2.5” away from the preceding magnet. place two steel balls in the groove. 3. Lay one magnet in the ruler groove. .

5. Your tape dispenser will work fine. Place a “target” a few inches to the right of the ruler. Place the ninth ball in the groove on the far left end of the ruler (opposite the target). . 6.

Let the ball go and stand back! Results . 8. Put your safety goggles on.7.

and so on. Energy from one ball gets transferred to the next. and then to the next. But where is all the energy in the last ball coming from if the first ball starts off from rest? The answer is in the magnets. Why? What you just saw is a fantastic example of energy conservation.The ball will be attracted to the first magnet and set off a chain reaction of balls firing between the magnets until the last one flies off the ruler at high speed to strike its target. .