We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Newton's Cradle?

Niki Acker
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Newton's Cradle is a device used to demonstrate conservation of momentum and kinetic energy. It consists of a series of identical balls, usually five or seven, each attached by two strings of equal length to a frame and just touching each other. First manufactured in 1967, this device is a popular desk toy. The device is so named because it demonstrates laws of physics discussed in Sir Isaac Newton's 1687 work, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. However, 17th century French physicist Abbé Mariotte was the first to demonstrate the law of impact between bodies that governs the movement of a Newton's Cradle.

To use this device, the first ball on one end of the device is picked up and dropped. It transfers energy through the middle balls before causing the ball on the far end to swing up. When the ball descends, the action repeats. The middle balls do not apparently move, while the two on the ends clack up and down. A similar effect can be seen if two or three balls are picked up and dropped; the same number of balls on the other end will swing up and down, and any balls remaining in the middle will remain stationary.

Newton's Cradle is popularly used in physics classrooms to show that kinetic energy and momentum are conserved in collisions. While this is a simplistic explanation, and the uniform balls and cables and restricted movement in the cradle make it a special case, not always applicable to real-world situations, the toy provides a helpful visual to students and can make science fun.

The original design of the Newton's Cradle, marketed by actor Simon Prebble, used steel balls on a wooden frame. Later, a sleek chrome frame became the common design. The world's largest Newton's Cradle, designed by Chris Boden, is on public display in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It is made of seven 15-pound (6.8 kg) bowling balls suspended from the ceiling by 20-foot (6.1 m) cables and is regularly used for scientific demonstrations.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker , Writer
"In addition to her role as a EasyTechJunkie editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "

Discussion Comments

By coling — On Jun 06, 2009

A more interesting and significant question about Newton's Cradle is the following:

For a three ball Newton's Cradle, when one ball is pulled aside and released, why do you never see that ball bounce back with one third of its original speed and the other two move off together in the opposite direction with two thirds of the speed of the original moving ball?

For such a cradle there are many solutions like that above which conserve momentum and kinetic energy but are never observed. For a full discussion of the behavior of Newton's Cradle see the article in "Science & Education", Volume 15, 2006, 597-617.

By anon31326 — On May 03, 2009

What are the basic energy changes taking place in this system?

By anon31325 — On May 03, 2009

What has occurred in terms of forces?

Niki Acker

Niki Acker


"In addition to her role as a EasyTechJunkie editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.