3B10.20 - Wave Demo - Slinky

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Wave Demo - Slinky
Wave Motion
Area of Study:
Acoustics, E & M

Attach spring to lecture bench and stretch to desired length.

  • Philip Gash, "A Slinky’s Elastic Potential Energy", TPT, Vol. 58, #3, Mar. 2020, p. 198. 
  • Thomas Greenslade Jr., "In Praise of the Slinky", TPT, Vol. 56, #3, Mar. 2018, p. 131.
  • Philip Gash, "Let Students Discover an Important Physical Property of a Slinky", TPT, Vol. 54, #7, Oct. 2016, p. 431.
  • David S. Abbott, "Wavelength, Frequency, and Constant Speed Buggies", TPT, Vol. 53, #8, Nov. 2015, p. 502.
  • Terrence P. Toepker, "Center of Mass of a Suspended Slinky: An Experiment", TPT, Vol. 42, #1, Jan 2004, p. 16.
  • Lawrence Ruby, "Slinky Models", TPT, Vol. 40, #6, Sept. 2002, p. 324.
  • Mikolaj “Mik” Sawicki, "Static Elongation of a Suspended Slinky™", TPT, Vol. 40, #5, May 2002, p. 276.
  • A. P. French, "French Responds", TPT, Vol. 32, #6, Sept. 1994, p. 328.
  • Jerome W. Hosken, "A Slinky Error", TPT, Vol. 32, #6, Sept. 1994, p. 327.
  • P. J. Ouseph and Thomas Poothackanal, "Longitudinal and Transverse Waves in a Spring", TPT, Vol. 32, #5, May 1994, p. 285.
  • A. P. French, "The Suspended Slinky—A Problem in Static Equilibrium", TPT, Vol. 32, #4, Apr. 1994, p. 244.
  • Joe Pizzo, "A Longitudinal Wave Machine", TPT, Vol. 27, #1, Jan. 1989, p. 54.
  • "A New Slinky", TPT, Vol. 25, #2, Feb. 1987, p. 116.
  • D. F. Kirwan and J. Willis, "A Slinky with Vertical Mounting", TPT, Vol. 17, #7, Oct. 1979, p. 471.
  • Al-Ping Hu, "A Simple Model of a Slinky Walking Down Stairs", AJP, Vol. 78, #1, Jan. 2010, p. 35.
  • S. Y. Mak, "The Static Effectiveness Mass of a SlinkyTM", AJP, Vol. 55, #11, Nov. 1987, p. 994.
  • Frank S. Crawford, "Erratum: 'Slinky Whistlers' [Am. J. Phys. 55, 130 (1987)]", AJP, Vol. 55, #10, Oct. 1987, p. 952.
  • Frank S. Crawford, "Slinky Whistlers", AJP, Vol. 55, #2, Feb. 1987, p. 130.
  • C. T. Tindle, "Pressure and Displacement in Sound Waves", AJP, Vol. 54, #8, Aug. 1986, p. 749.
  • C. T. Tindle, "Phase of a Reflected Acoustic Wave", AJP, Vol. 52, #9, Sep. 1984, p. 854.
  • Jeffrey M. Bowen, "Slinky Oscillations and the Notion of Effective Mass", AJP, Vol. 50, #12, Dec. 1982, p. 1145.
  • G. D. Freier and F. J. Anderson, "Sa-14", A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • G. D. Freier and F. J. Anderson, "Sa-12", A Demonstration Handbook for Physics.
  • Pat Murphy, Ellen Macaulay, and the Staff of the Exploratorium, "How Sound Travels", Exploratopia, p. 347.
  • "Toy Origins", Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, p. 169.
  • "It's Slinky", Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, p. 247.
  • Borislaw Bilash II and David Maiullo, "Types of Waves", A Demo a Day: A Year of Physics Demonstrations, p. 204.
  • Jearl Walker, "3.78. Slinky Whistlers", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 176.
  • Jearl Walker, "1.65. A Slinky", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 32.
  • Ed Sobey and Woody Sobey, "Slinky", The Way Toys Work, p. 128.
  • "Slinky Science", Engineers Week, Feb. 17, 2008.
  • Paul Doherty "Slinky in-Hand", Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty, May 1999.
  • Christopher P. Jargodzki and Franklin Potter, "160. Slinky Sound Off!", Mad About Physics, p. 60, 204.
  • Janice VanCleave, "Waves", Earth Science for Every Kid - 101 Easy Experiments That Really Work, p. 188 - 189.
  • Janice VanCleave, "Waves", Physics for Every Kid - 101 Easy Experiments in Motion, Heat, Light, Machines, and Sound,  p. 178 - 179.
  • Jeanne Marie Laskas, "The Lady Behind the Slinky", Reader's Digest, Nov. 1993, p. 77.
  • Lou Harry, "It's Slinky!", Running Press.
  • Robert Ehrlich, "Static Equilibrium of a Suspended Slinky", Why Toast Lands Jelly-Side Down, p. 53 - 54.
  • Robert Ehrlich, "J.1. Waves Along a Spring or Rubber Hose", Turning the World Inside Out and 174 Other Simple Physics Demonstrations, p. 126.
  • "Slinky - The Spring That Captured the Hearts of Millions", Des Moines Register, Sunday, Feb. 19, 1996.
  • Joey Green, "Slinky Race", The Mad Scientist Handbook, Vol. 2, p. 89.
  • Brandon Specktor, "Toys That Weren't Meant to Be Toys", Readers Digest, Sept. 2015, p. 134 - 135.
  • Sara Stein, "The Short Life of a Sound", The Science Book, p. 176.
  • The Book of Unusual Knowledge, Publications International, Ltd., "8 Things Invented or Discovered by Accident", Chapter 15, p. 450.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.