ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALFRED PASIEKA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Newton's cradle. Computer illustration of a device known as Newton's cradle. It consists of a set of balls resting against one another that are free to swing from the bar (not seen) they hang from. Here, one of the balls has been sent swinging towards the others. The kinetic energy with which it strikes the first ball will be transferred from ball to ball, finally propelling the last ball away from the others. As this ball swings upwards, its kinetic energy becomes potential energy. The opposite energy transfer occurs as gravity pulls the ball back down to strike the others. As the balls move, energy is lost to friction until they come to rest.
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