Is Maxwell Smart?
Useful for demonstrating momentum, conservation of energy and torque, this apparatus is basically a large metal flywheel suspended by two strong cords in a metal frame.
The cords are wound around the shaft of the wheel which is then released. The wheel will unwind as it falls but will wind itself back up as the momentum carries it upward in the opposite direction.
This oscillation process will continue for several moments before gradually coming to a stop as the wheel slowly loses momentum and travels less each time.
So where is the science? - Well Maxwell's wheel actually demonstrates conservation of energy. Its movements are essentially a back and forth conversion between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy. These take the forms of rotation and linear velocity occurring in the flywheel.
Also makes a very cool tabletop sculpture.