11 year old Andre Jefferson explained stick bombs as being, ‘a kinetic chain reaction that is weaved together with jumbo popsicle sticks, that creates tension, and when you take one of the sticks out, it releases potential energy and makes it pop up about this high’.
I am going to admit that I didn’t understand this, but I did enjoy the rest of his TEDx talk – watch it first and then we will find out what a ‘Stick bomb’ is and what makes them jump.
The ‘King of Kinetics’ is Tim Fort, an American artist who was featured on America’s Got Talent last year. Tim has been working on Stick Bombs for a very long time and explains what they are and how they work on his website
‘The simple stick bombs made with five or six sticks have been around for decades, and in the 1990s, I developed ways of making stick bombs of unlimited size. Because of the way the sticks are woven together, they are bent slightly out of shape.
It is the bending of the sticks that cause them to store up elastic potential energy; the sudden release of the elastic energy causes them to jump in the air with a surprising amount of force‘
Do have a look at Tim’s video page, which has lots of amazing videos of his world record winning Stick Bombs, and even has a couple of tutorials to show you how to make simple Stick Bombs – from simple weaves
to the more complicated Cobra and Diamond Weaves
If you try this at home, don’t forget to wear protective goggles. As Tim warns, an accidental detonation could lead to a nasty accident otherwise.
Want to try this out? Buy sticks in craft shops, or online