A wave of recent online videos showing the bottom of a dropped Slinky hovering in midair has scientists taking a closer look at the toy many of us played with as a kid. Grab a Slinky from the toy box and try this experiment at home.
STEP 1: Hold the Slinky allowing it to levitate in the air.
STEP 2: Drop the Slinky and observe closely.
If you look close enough you will observe that the bottom coils stay suspended in the air. As you hold the slinky in the air, gravity pulls down. That downward pull is balanced by the upward pull of tension created by the coils above the coils at the bottom. When you let the Slinky go, the bottom stays suspended as the top collapses. As the slinky collapses the coils slam into each other creating a wave downward that eventually reaches the bottom coils telling them to fall to the ground. Go to hookedonscience.org for more experiments that might get you “Hooked on Science.”