Fork Balancing Trick to Impress Someone

Most of the magic tricks are not wonders but the result of applied physics. Center of mass is one such concept that can be utilized interestingly to understand the reason behind the balancing act. The fork balancing trick is performed using two forks and a very light object like a tooth pick.

The sight of heavy objects like forks balancing on a toothpick is definitely a thing of surprise. That is why; kids use this trick often when they are out to enthrall the audience and become the hero of the show. Since, it does not involve any dangerous material; it is quite alright if kids perform these tricks without adult supervision.

Material Required :

  • Two forks
  • A toothpick

Procedure for Fork Balancing :

Two forks are interlocked at the teeth portion and are not made to come out easily. Means, the arrangement should look like a permanent setting, and the forks are not separated even on shaking. Then, a toothpick is inserted in a position where the two forks are interlocked. If the whole set-up is picked up by simply holding the toothpick, it will appear as if the forks are resting on a toothpick. This is known as balancing the forks.

And The Concept behind the trick is :

  • The trick involves the concept of center of mass within a system.
  • Center of mass is actually the point where the whole mass of the matter is believed to be concentrated.
  • It can be traced by throwing the object; the center of mass takes a parabolic path no matter how the whole object is moving.
  • The center of mass need not be located within the object. Horseshoes object has its mass located outside it.
  • When the two forks are wedged together, the setting assumes the shape of a horse-shoe. And the toothpick provides the balancing point where its center of mass is located.

Similar situations:

  • Balancing the glass on a charger plate placed vertically.
  • Balancing forks on the rim of the glass
  • Two forks and  a coin on the tip of the needle

This balancing trick can be made more dramatic by reducing the size of the toothpick by burning it. The burning is done just to create an impact. According to the concept of center of mass, the reduced mass of the toothpick poses no difference in the location and so the setting lies balanced on the burnt toothpicks too. With a little practice, the setting can be shifted to the rim of the glass and can be placed there in balanced situation.

Review

Physics provides a very strong platform for the magicians. Their knowledge as well as practice helps them in becoming the master of illusion. Students studying Physics can learn the concepts and apply them in stealing the show. There are a number of activities that can be performed using the concepts of physics, and the best part of these activities is that they can be performed using simple objects. So, it is not required to arrange a stage for the magic show; even the dining table across the room can be the place to display the trick.

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