Third law...

Newton’s Third Law of motion as it applies to Space Rails

At last, we come to the law that is quite easy to memorize and as usual, quite easy to understand. This law relates to motion in a manner that is slightly different from the others. The force seems to place more emphasis on balance rather than movement. Before any coordinated movement can occur, balance must be first achieved.

What the law says

‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’

Forces occur in pairs. It’s the reason why we are able to stand on the Ground without actually sinking in, it’s the reason why you sit down on a chair and the chair doesn’t collapse. Every force you can think about involves the interaction of two objects. One object exerts a force and the other responds with an equal amount of force. So, when you stand on the ground or sit on a chair, the ground or chair, as the case may be, exerts an upward force on your body that is equal in magnitude to the downward force exerted by your weight. It's easy to see why a chair that is no longer strong enough could crumble under your weight when you sit on it.   

If you have ever wondered why you cannot walk on water, your answer lies in the Newton’s Third Law of motion. As mentioned earlier, when you stand on the ground, your body exerts a force that is equal to your weight. This force acts downwards. In response, the earth exerts another upward force that counteracts your weight. Water is not able to exert the same force as the earth so it cannot counteract your wait. That is why you see yourself sinking when you try to stand on water. But if you place a small object, say, a kite on the same body of water, the kite would float. This is because the magnitude of the kite’s force (or it’s weight) is not more than the reaction force exerted by the water.

If we are to look at the spacerail example, you would notice that the rails are made of flexible metal sheets and the marble is quite light. Thus, the force exerted on the rails by the weight of the marble is almost negligible. This accounts for why the marble is able to balance and move on the rails. If you were to put a much heavier object, say a shot-put, the rails would no doubt crumble under this weight. This is because they are unable to counteract the effect of the force exerted by the shot-put.

The series has tried to present the concept of motion in an easily relatable way. Remember, the concept of motion comes to life around us and it is an idea you can easily relate to. And of course, you can keep building your space rails to bring the concept even closer. As you move up the levels, the journey becomes even more exciting.  

  Spacerails Level 9 - www.spacerails.com/spacerails-set/SC231-9

Spacerails Level 9 - www.spacerails.com/spacerails-set/SC231-9

Second law...

Newton’s Second Law of motion as it applies to Space Rails

As we have established with the first of law, an object cannot be set into motion without the application of a force. The second law further establishes the relationship between the force applied on an object and the object’s motion. Newton’s second law of motion looks even more difficult to memorize. But, you should remember it’s not important to memorize these concepts. Once you are able to have a full appreciation of the principles and applications of the law, writing it down would come naturally.  

The Second Law

‘The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object.’

There is a simple equation that summarizes this law.

F=ma

Where "F" represents the magnitude of the force, "m" represents the mass of the object, and "a" represents the acceleration.

To break this down, if you push two toy cars with the same mass down a smooth road, the toy car you gave the heavier push would move faster. In this illustration, the push is the force applied and how fast the car moves gives an idea of the acceleration. And of course, it is assumed that the mass is constant.

To further understand this concept, think about why a small car would usually find it easy to overtake a big truck on an express road. It’s because of the differences in their mass. Even if both drivers are applying the same force on the accelerator (although there is much more to a car’s motion that this), the smaller car would move faster because of its lesser mass. It’s the same reason why you are able to push the lawnmower in your garden but you are not able to push the car, even if you apply the same force.

Although you may not be able to quantify your observation,  you could notice the relationship between force and acceleration on a space rail. As explained in the first law, the motion of the marble on the space rail depends on gravity. The gravitational pull on this marble is greater at the very sloppy points on the rail. Thus, the force exerted on the marble at these very sloppy points is higher than the force exerted at the less sloppy points. According to the second law, the acceleration of the marble should be greater at the very sloppy points. This is exactly what you would observe on the space rails. The marble moves much faster at the points where the slope is steep and then slows down at points where the rail is almost straight. In fact, the changing speeds of the marble till it gets to the end point is in response to the changing magnitude of the gravitational pull that’s driving its motion.

  Spacerails Level 2 - www.spacerails.com/spacerails-set/SC231-2

Spacerails Level 2 - www.spacerails.com/spacerails-set/SC231-2

First law...

An introduction to motion and its application to Space Rails

Asides being one of the fundamental concepts of modern physics, the concept of motion is what we can observe easily around us. Virtually everything in the environment is in motion and motion, in fact, is what keeps the world going. Have you ever thought about what is responsible for day and night? I bet you thought the sun shines during the day and rests at night, or something close to that. But that is far away from the answer.

Explaining the occurrence of Day and Night

Though it may seem very difficult to believe, the earth that we live is in constant motion. And it’s not even a single type of motion at that. The earth rotates around the sun and also rotates about its own axis. That could be a tad difficult to understand right? Well, think of the earth as a soccer ball (you wouldn’t be too wrong as the earth is essentially a very large ball). If you decide to move the ball around the center circle, there’ll be two kinds of motions. First the movement of the ball around that point and then the movement of the ball about its own axis.

If you want to observe this, you could color different points on the ball differently. You would see that if you began rotating the ball with the redpoint facing up, the red point may be facing the sides by the time you get back to the former position. That is exactly what happens when the earth moves, except both movements, are strictly coordinated. It is the earth’s rotation about its own axis that takes our own part of the world away from the sun and that is when night occurs. It also accounts for why day and night do not occur at the same time everywhere in the world. When our side of the ball is facing the sun, some other side would be blocked from it.   

What causes motion?

We already have a hint of just how important motion could be in our environment. But what causes motion? There is another simple answer to this. And it is 'force'. Force is essentially what drives motion. Before a car can move, a force has to be applied. Before a piece of paper can fall off the table, a force must have disturbed it.

A famous scientist, Sir Isaac Newton studied the relationship between force and motion and his conclusion were summarized as Newton’s laws of motion. To this day, the three laws of Newton are still extensively studied and it forms the foundation upon which many discoveries are made. In the next series, you’ll be learning about the laws of motion and how you can observe these laws via space rails.

 

  Spacerails Level 5 - www.spacerails.com/spacerails-set/SC231-5

Spacerails Level 5 - www.spacerails.com/spacerails-set/SC231-5

PHYSICS 101: Laws of SPACERAIL Motion

Newton’s laws of motion and how it applies to Spacerails

In a not-so-distant past, there used to be an English guy named Isaac Newton. Newton seemed like a regular kid while growing up, but as the world would come to discover, later on, he was more than just a regular kid. You might have heard the name before, and probably the popular story of the falling apple. We won’t be telling the story here as it deals with the concept of gravity. We would rather focus on another popular work of the sage; the laws of motion.

Sir Isaac Newton as he would later be known came up with three ideas about motion. Over time, these ideas have been tested and proven. That is why they are now known as laws. Remember in science, an idea does not become a law until it has been found to be true under all reasonable conditions.

The First Law

‘An object at rest remains at rest or if in motion, remains in motion at a constant velocity unless acted on by a net external force.’

We agree the text of the first law is quite long and could be complex. But you do not need to memorize it anyway. We’ll just give you a breakdown of the basic idea the text is communicating by dividing it into two parts.

The first part

With no outside forces, an object at rest would never move

The second part

With no outside forces, an object in motion would not stop.

Still sounding very complex? The good thing is you can observe these laws yourself. The next time you’re taking a trip down to the grocery in your mum’s car, seat right beside her and observe the movement of the car. What happens when you first sit in there? Well, you are all just sitting in the car but the car doesn’t move, right? This is because your mum is yet to apply any force. But once she starts the car and presses one of the pedals down there, the car roars into motion. Your mum applied an external force by pressing the accelerator. This process clearly follows Newton’s first law.

For the second part, think about what happens when you get to the store. Your mum presses another pedal and the car screeches to a halt. By pressing the car brake, your mum apples another force and the object (your car) that was formerly in motion is brought to a stop. This is in obedience to the second law.

If this still feels abstract, you can easily observe the phenomenon right in your home using spacerails. All you need do is purchase a suitable size of space rails and solve the assembly puzzle. We can assure you cracking the puzzle would be so much fun. After the puzzle, place the marble on the rails and observe the motion. You would notice the starting position on the rails has a downward slope. The force of gravity at this slope is responsible for the initial motion of the marble. This follows Newton’s First Law of Motion.

You would also observe that the marble doesn’t stop until it gets to the end of its path. At the end of the path, there is an obstacle that forces it to stop. This obstacle is the source of the external force as proposed by Newton’s Second Law.

If you have been watching videos of astronauts in space, you would notice that objects thrown upwards would keep floating without coming down immediately. This is due to the absence of the force of gravity in space. The objects could stay afloat until it is acted upon by the force of gravity of another planet.  

There you have it! We hope you have enjoyed our explanations of Newton’s First Law of Motion. Remember you can observe the phenomenon yourself in a fun manner by purchasing space rails.  

Fun Facts with Physics and SPACERAILS

EDUCATIONAL IDEAS:

There are many questions SpaceRailers have when it comes to “WHY” the marbles are able to run the SpaceRail track and not fall off and can stay on the ball roller coaster. We’ve created this blog to answer those questions and to give you some fun educational facts about SpaceRail’s marble roller coaster kit.

As the marble moves upwards, it is gaining potential or stored energy.

Gaining Energy with Elevation:

Let’s begin with the beginning part of the marble run: the elevator. When the SpaceRails ball is going up the spiraled

elevator, this is called potential energy and it increases as the ball gets higher and higher. The SpaceRail Level 9 elevator is much taller than Level 1’s elevator, therefore it stores more potential energy or energy to be used to go up and down the rails.

The Drops in your Spacerail:

As the marble goes down the hill it gains kinetic energy and going up a hill it loses kinetic energy.

The next part of the marble run is the drops and hills. When the ball is released from the elevator, the potential energy becomes kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is a body (the marble) in motion. With any type of roller coaster, the higher the drop the more kinetic energy it has to go up the next hilltop. As the marble goes down a rail, it is gaining kinetic energy and when it goes up, it is losing kinetic energy.

The drops get higher and higher with each level you increase with your SpaceRail marble run. If you start with SpaceRail Level 1 and build your marble roller coaster to Level 9, you will see the difference in how much more kinetic energy is used as the drops become higher.

The Loops:

Gravity pulls the marble down, but the accelerated force is much greater.

Everyone wonders how the marble stays on the track when going upside down in the loops on their SpaceRail. This is when inertia and gravity becomes involved. Inertia says that an object in motion will stay in motion, unless an outside force changes its course. The marble in your marbler roller coaster is moving fast and the direction of the marble changes by the curve of the loop. Inertia is what presses the marble to the outside rails of the loop. Although gravity is pulling the marble down, the accelerated force is stronger and is pulling the ball upwards. In short, the acceleration is counteracting the gravity pull.

Now, when you build your marble roller coaster set you can identify these different lessons of physics. These laws of physics can also help you to build your marble run. Check and see if your marble coaster has enough potential energy, kinetic energy, and enough accelerated force to define gravity. Good luck!

Spring / Summer Fun!

Are you ready for summer?  Kids are out of school, the weather is getting hotter, and the days are becoming long dog days of summer. Swimming, hiking, and playing outside are all great outdoor activities for kids. However, on scorching hot days, you might find it difficult to get your kids to do anything outdoors and you don’t want them in front of a TV screen all day playing video games. Especially during the summer when kids are out of school, it’s important to be keeping their minds stimulated and still learning new things. What better way to do fun activities with your kids and get the opportunity to teach them in return. We share the three best SpaceRail activities you can do with your kids this summer:

SpaceRail Level 1:*This marble roller coaster set is perfect for beginners. This starter marble rollercoaster package includes all of the pieces and instructions to build your very own marble run. Building a SpaceRail, kids get to help with problem solving and engineering. Not only is it fun to watch after completion, but offers good lessons on physics. Need to brush up on your physics? Check out our blog about “SpaceRails and Physics”.

SpaceRail Glow Level 3:* This marble run kit differs from SpaceRail Level 1 because it is more challenging, but also it GLOWS IN THE DARK. Kids and adults of all ages love watching the ball rolling on rails and returning to the elevator again and again in a dark room.

Customize your Spacerail: Go rogue and build your Spacerail kit to your own specifications. Spare parts and pieces are available to purchase here.

Keep your kids entertained and educated this summer. Put together a marble roller coaster set and learn about the physics of a marble run. It’s a great memory builder, as well as educational activity you can do with your kids during the hot summer days.

*Please note that SpaceRails recommends users be 15 years or older to put together a marble roller coaster set. However, it is a great activity for adults (18+) to do with kids.

 

 

Which Spacerail is right for you?

Spacerail Marble Coaster Buying Guide

Looking to purchase a Spacerail marble coaster for the first time? Or maybe you’re looking for your next Spacerail marble run challenge? We have the largest internet offering of marble coaster. We have gathered our immense Spacerail marble coaster line to help you choose the next marble run to put assemble and enjoy.

Read each short feature description below or take a look at our table with all the features of our Spacerail marble coasters. Note that the building times are an estimate and will vary based on experience.

SpaceRail Marble Coaster Features:

SpaceRail Level 1:

  • Level: Beginner
  • 5,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 1-2 hours
  • Two different tracks for marble to travel
  • Full single loop that is built
  • Multiple curves and spiral drops

SpaceRail Level 2:

  • Level: Beginner
  • 10,000 mm marble run
    track
  • Estimated build time: 1-2 hours
  • Two different tracks for marble to travel
  • Full single loop
  • Seesaw drops
  • Multiple curves and spiral drops

SpaceRail Level 3:

  • Level: Beginner
  • 16,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 2-3 hours
  • Full single loop
  • Multiple curves and spiral drops

SpaceRail Level 4:

  • Level: Intermediate
  • 25,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 2-4 hours
  • Vertical corkscrew
  • Multiple consecutive loops
  • Multiple curves and spiral drops

SpaceRail Level 5:

  • Level: Intermediate
  • 32,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 5-7 hours
  • Multiple loops
  • Rotating arms to transport Spacerail marble
  • Seesaw drops
  • Multiple curves and spiral drops

SpaceRail Level 6:

  • Level: Intermediate
  • 60,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 8-12 hours
  • Multiple consecutive loops
  • Drop-through steps
  • Vertical corkscrew
  • Multiple curves and spiral drops

SpaceRail Level 7:

  • Level: Expert
  • 32,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 9-12 hours
  • Ten consecutive loops
  • Drop-through steps
  • Multiple curves and spiral drops
  • Vertical corkscrews

SpaceRail Level 8:

  • Level: Expert
  • 40,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 10-12 hours
  • Multiple consecutive loops
  • Drop-through steps
  • Multiple curves, spirals, and drops, including figure 8s
  • Vertical corkscrew

SpaceRail Level 9:

  • Level: Expert
  • 68,000 mm marble run track
  • Estimated build time: 25-35 hours
  • Multiple consecutive loops
  • Drop-through steps
  • Seesaw drop
  • Weighted Lever
  • Multiple curves, spirals, and drops
  • Two vertical corkscrews
Spacerail-Logo-Web_preview.jpeg

What are STEM toys and what it means to you.

What do Spacerails and the STEM initiative have in common?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but what STEM education focuses on is much more than these four subjects. ... STEM toys encourage kids to develop skills in the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The focus of STEM education is how these subjects relate to each other and the real world. That means that these subjects need to be taught together and be focused on problem solving.

When it comes to education, STEM learning is a major push these days. It applies to learning and activities that focus on logic, problem-solving, creativity and experimentation.

Fortunately, those skills are often best developed and nurtured through play, and there are plenty of STEM toys on the market focused on doing just that. From those designed for toddlers all the way up through teens, there are a variety of toys that teach STEM skills in ways so fun kids will have no idea they’re learning.

Spacerails is honored to be a part of this initiative.

STEM-Logo.png

Prepping to Build your Spacerail

You have it in your hands - the next level set of Spacerails!  With it's sleek designed box, weighing heavy in your hands, and the endless possibilities.  Now what?

Pulling building tips and hints from fans over on our Spacerailers Facebook group (http://bit.ly/2FpDBqk, they shared with us some essential recommendations before starting to roll that steel ball over those slick rails.

  • Make sure you have a big clutter-free working area - trust us, it gets crazy.
  • Identify all pieces when opening the box
  • Keep the instructions next to you at all times - it helps!
  • Use bowls and plates to organize arms, rail stands, arm wrenches, rail, elevator helix and other pieces, can make the process much more easier.
  • Don't cut the rail until you get to ready to complete that step within the instructions
  • Layout the bigger pieces - such as the base(s), gear box, shafts, and other parts

Now on to Step 1...

Spacerail Marble ROLLER COASTER Buying Guide - Up for the challenge?

Level 1? Level 9?  A level inbetween? What Spacerail set should you get?

Blog1.jpg

People say you should always start at the very beginning…but having that said, there’s some satisfaction from jumping off into the deep end.

Spacerails is like that as well. As a beginner you learn the do’s and don’ts of building a rail.  Making sure to cut the rail just right, or at least a little bit longer.  Making sure you have separated all the different pieces for make creating the rail easier.  Making sure the rail stands are set to the specific height and placement on the base. 

However some like to challenge themselves by jumping up to a higher level and learning by trial and error.  Tweaking those difficult seesaw stunts, loops and drops.

At Spacerails, we would recommend to start with a beginner level, either a Level 1, 2 or 3.  With a few less pieces and shorter sections of rail, - these sets encourage you to learn the basics and hone your skills.

Afterwards you can move up through the different levels to the hardest one - Level 9 - trust us, it’s a challenge!

What challenge are you up for?