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Gravitram

A billard balls sit within a series of wire pathways which is designed to move balls down by gravity
A large green steel and glass display case sits within a white foyer. Within the display case is a series of wire pathways and billard balls.

Kinetic sculptures lift, roll and drop billiard balls around various pathways.

How it works

Track a ball on its journey round the Gravitram.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Where can you find these mechanisms at home?
  • How many different pathways can you see?
  • Why are balls released one at a time from the resting places?
  • How often does the bell chime?

Background

An electric motor lifts billiard balls up to the top of the Gravitram, so each billiard ball gains potential or stored energy. When a ball is released, its potential energy is converted into moving or kinetic energy. Also, as the ball collides with other balls or parts of the Gravitram, energy is released through sound and friction.

Each pathway in the Gravitram consists of a series of simple mechanisms, including an Archimedian screw, a chain lift and a see saw.

Finding the science in your world

Simple machines are found in everyday home appliances such as lawnmowers, toasters, pendulum clocks, sewing machines, gates, bicycles and many other items!