Screw and Spiral

Principle of Science: Energy Transformation

Place the ball at the bottom of the spiral (an Archimedean screw) and turn the rim. As the screw raises the ball to the top of the track, potential energy is transferred to the ball. Watch as the ball rolls across and down the track. Pay attention to how it speeds up!

There are many energy transformations happening in this exhibit. A person uses chemical energy from food and converts it to kinetic energy when turning the crank that moves the screw. The screw has mechanical energy that is converted to potential energy stored in the ball. When the ball rolls down the track, the potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy.