Open today: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Forces in Motion

Engineering, solving problems, and making things happen

Mechanical principles are at work everywhere in our everyday lives, but it’s not often that we can try them out in different applications or have fun testing them. In this exhibit area, visitors can experiment with a dynamic array of machines and devices in big ways. It’s here that visitors will discover the relationship between physics, engineering, and their own ingenuity.

Pneumatic Tubes

Sponsored by ONEOK

This series of blowers, tubes, and diverters works in conjunction with the Human Powered Blower and Ball Launchers to transport or launch balls toward a number of targets. Targets may include a ball sorter that separates balls into various colors, a “probability machine” that creates a bell curve with the balls it catches, or structures that simply funnel the balls into receptacles near each device. Visitors insert balls into the system and figure out how to use the diverters to send the balls to their intended target.

Pulley Tower Ball Launchers

Sponsored by ONEOK

In this component, visitors use a rope to lift a weight inside a tube, which launches a ball toward a target when released. Three launchers with 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1 pulleys let visitors feel the difference and aim at various targets.


Sponsored by ONEOK

Visitors step on a pair of bellows to provide enough airflow to push a ball through a length of tubing. Depending on the length of tube used, it can either be used to launch a ball toward a target or through a number of diverters to different locations. These bellows could be integrated with the rest of the Pneumatic Tubes.

Human Powered Blower

Sponsored by ONEOK

Using a wheel-and-axle system to turn a fan, visitors work up a current of air powerful enough to launch balls into a pneumatic system. In order to get the blower started, large wheels will provide mechanical advantage for torque. But as the blower continues, the smaller wheels will make it easier to keep the blower going.