How to Make an Electric Newton’s Disc

Today in this post, we are going to learn about colors and their properties by performing a simple experiment using simple household items available readily at home. The Newton’s Disc Experiment is a great way to introduce kids to color spectrum and how it behaves when the primary colors blend together to make secondary colors.

Hypothesis: A Newton’s disc appears white when rotated using a toy motor and a colored wheel made of card board and pencil colors. When the motor mounted with a newton’s disc is turned on, the color segments on the disc or colored wheel are dispensed such that when the colored wheel is rotated, a near white shaded color appears by the mixing of different primary colors. Due to impurities of different colors used on the colored wheel disc, the complete white color is not realized but the effect is muddy white. The idea of performing this simple experiment is to show the persistent effect of the different colors on the retina of the eye is the mixture of all the colors, namely – white.

Time required: 20 minutes to 30 minutes

Materials Required:

You will need very simple supplies from the stationery or around the home to perform this awesome experiment to prove the properties of colors. The materials include:

1) An equivalent sized piece of cardboard

2) Glue

3) Tape

4) Scissors

5) A standard piece of printer paper

6) Color Pencils (choose rainbow colors to better enjoy the effect of color spectrum)

7) Coloring sources (it could be sketches, color pastels, water color paintings)

8) A ruler

9) Ruler

10) A toy Motor

11) A drawing compass (you can make your own compass using pencils or simply pick any thing that is round in shape to trace)

Before we jump into the simple step-by-step instructions, I would like to give a small introduction about newton’s disc.

Newton’s Disc

A Newton disc is also well-known as disappearing color disc, a composition of colors shaped like a pie on a disc. It is majorly used to demonstrate how white light is composed of the rainbow colors. When you spin the newton’s disc very fast you see the primary rainbow colors used start blending into a whole white disc. In this simple demo or experiment, I am trying to recreate this effect using other simple supplies found around the kitchen.

Colors and Light

Sun light is the primary source of colors! It is difficult for us to know what exactly is a color and light but we can understand about these significant science concepts by performing a simple science experiment. It is easy and fun experiment through which children can learn a lot about the properties of colors and light. Color basically depends on light and any object appears colored because of the way a color interacts with the light. Light is a form of energy travels over longer distances at a speed of 190,000 mi (300,000 km) a second. A thin line of light is called a ray made up of many rays of light beam. When we talk about light, we generally mean about white light. The colors that make up white light disperse into seven bands of color. These bands of color are called a spectrum.

Through this amazing experiment, we are going to learn about white light is composed of the colors of the spectrum. Let us begin our easy, fun, and spectacular experiment!

Instructions to create Electric Newton’s Disc

Here are the simple step-by-step instructions to perform Electric Newton’s disc experiment. Have a look!

Step-1: Collect the materials that you will need for the Experiment

Collect all the materials mentioned in the post to prepare your experiment table ready such that you can perform the experiment hassle free.

Step-2: Cut the piece of cardboard and paper into equal size Circles

To make equal sized circles, you can use a drawing compass or collect something that is round in shape in order to trace the circle shape. There is no particular measurement to draw a circle shape but it is recommended to use a circle that fits perfectly and comfortably on a standard sheet of paper. If the circle is longer, then it is difficult to enjoy the effects of colored disc.

Step-3: Glue the circled paper to the Card board

  Glue your circle shaped standard piece of paper to the card board and let it dry until the glue is worked completely to stick the paper to the card board.

Step-4: Divide the circle into seven equal Triangles

Once the glue gets dry, divide the circle into seven equal triangles using pencil and a ruler by making lines on the circle. You can print off the colored disc from the internet just to have an idea of how a colored disc looks like!

Step-5: Color each of the seven sections a different color

Now, it is time to bring your child’s favourite rainbow color pencils in to the picture. You can start at the top of the circle section and work clockwise to color the triangular sections on the circle. Here is the guide to follow which color goes first in to the circle and go on… the order of coloring is: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Step-6: Fasten the colored disc to the Motor

In this step, we are using toy motor to get the job, spinning done! You can find any other alternatives according to your choice and convenience. All you need to do is punch a hole in the middle of the colored disc and then slide the disc on to the motor shaft carefully. In this way, you can easily hold up the things at right place and spin it as fast as you can.

Step-7: Hold the Disc in Place

To hold the disc position from wobbling off of the motor while spinning, you can use tape an inch above the and below the colored disc where it is attaching to the motor. This way, you can hold and spin the colored disc faster without flying off of the motor shaft.

Step-8: Spin the Disc

When you spin the colored wheel using motor, the motor spins the disc quickly as you can see the colors mixing up slowly. As you increase the speed of motor and spin the colored disc faster, you will start to observe the blending colors and in no time all the colors will blend and appears as white. If you are not able to see the blending of colors, try to spin the disc even faster. To see the perfectly white wheel, you need to spin the wheel faster than your eyes can process the colors.

How does it work and what is the science behind the Newton’s Colored Disc?

The phenomenon of blending colors while spinning is also described as color addition. When the rainbow colors spin so fast using motor speed, their reflection of all the seven different colors will blend with each other and create the color white to be perceived by human eyes. All this happens due to visible spectrum.

Visible light is nothing but the small range of electromagnetic energy, which a human eye can detect and translate into an image. The light appears white in color when the entire spectrum is visible and present. While when a particular frequencies are absorbed, reflected, or otherwise not present, the eye sees different colors, for example red or yellow or green.

A Newton disc is a colored disc with different segments filled in with different rainbow colours. When the disc is rotated using motor, all the seven different rainbow colors mix up and eventually blend or fade to white color. In this way, we demonstrate that white light is a combination of the seven different colours found in a rainbow. A Newton Disc can be created by painting a disc with the seven different colours. A combination of red, green and blue in the circular disc will yield the same result due to the phenomenon called persistence of vision.

It was an important experiment for children of any age as it proves that light is not colourless, but has colour in it which together converge to give a faded white colour which we consider colourless. The original invention of this concept is made by Isaac Newton based on the principles of dispersion of light.

Q&A to Explore with Kids About Newton’s Disc

How does a Newton disc work?

Sun light is referred as white light since it has no specific color. In fact, the white light is made of different colors, which are only visible only when light passes through any transparent objects and decomposes all the colors causing a spectacular effect called as rainbow and spectrum is its scientific name. The different colors on the colored disc are the main colors as you see in the rainbow. When the colored disc or wheel spins, it creates a magical visual effect of blending colors each other and finally appears as a white color.

Why does a Newton’s disc appear white when it is rotated?

When the colored wheel or disc is rotated using motor shaft, the multi-colored disc appears to be white in color in no time. This is because when the colored disc is spinned faster, all the different and main color shades of rainbow starts blending up each other such that an approximate white color is formed. It is a great visual effect that teaches about the light and color spectrum using simple techniques.

How do you make a rotating color wheel?

It is so simple to make a rotating color wheel. All you need is little time and other simple supplies from the stationary. Here are the simple instructions to make a rotating colored wheel:
1) Take a piece of white cardboard, and from it cut a circle about 3 inches across.
2) Now from the middle of this cut another circle about 3/4 inches across.
3) Divide the circle into 7 equal parts, and paint or crayon the sections with the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Why does a color wheel turn white?

Newton’s color disc is mounted on a motor shaft. When the motor is turned on, the colored wheel start spinning rapidly the segments of colored wheel are apportioned due to fast rotation such that mixing of colors happens on the disc eventually giving the visual effect of colored wheel turning into a white colored wheel.

What is the depression of light?

The light which we see is actually composed of seven different coloured light-rays of different wavelength. Dispersion is the phenomenon of splitting up of a composite light into its component colours. When a composite light passes through a prism, the component colours undergo deviation in to seven colors (VIBGYOR) at both refracting faces.

Who invented VIBGYOR?

Issac Newton invented VIBGYOR, in full it is a mix of seven different colors such as Voilet, Indigo, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red. VIBGYOR may refer to: ROYGBIV, the exact reverse of VIBGYOR; the sequence of colours commonly described as making up a rainbow.

What is Newton’s theory of color?

In Newton’s colored disc or wheel, the color segments are arranged clockwise i.e. in the order the colors appear in the rainbow. Newton’s rainbow forms the familiar ROYGBIV because he thought the range of visible colors should be analogous to the seven-note musical. He checked this phenomenon using a small prism and discovered the clear demonstration on how and why the light alone was responsible for color. The conceptual arrangement of colors around the circumference of a circle in clockwise allowed the primary colors such as red, yellow, blue to be arranged opposite their complementary colors for e.g. red opposite green as a way of denoting that each complementary would enhance the other’s effect through optical contrast.

Why does a CD reflect a rainbow?

Hold a CD under sunlight and as you see, the CD appears to be reflecting rainbow colors. The rainbow colors that you see on the CDwhen kept under sunlight, are created by white light reflecting from ridges in the metal. When light reflects off or passes through something with many small ridges or scratches, you often get rainbow colors and interesting patterns. These are called interference patterns.

What 3 colors make white?

The three colors such as red, green, and blue, are blended to form white light. These colors are referred as primary colors of light according to the Newton’s Theory of Color.

What 7 colors make white?

The seven colors that constitute to form white light include: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Sometimes blue and indigo are treated as one color.

Does mixing all color make white?

White is basically a color and is formed by blending of all colors. Light appears colorless or white. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colors of the spectrum. The red, green and blue are the primary colors that blend to form white. Mixing different shades of rainbow colors produces new colors, as shown on the colored disc or wheel. As more colors are added, the result becomes lighter, heading towards white.

What is Newton’s color disc and what is its application?

A Newton’s Color disc is a disc of colored segments in rainbow color shades. This colored disc is used to demonstrate how white light is composed of all seven different colors of the rainbow. When this colored disc is roated using a motor, the colored segments on the wheel start blending rapidly and forms white light. Thus proves that white light is a combination of seven rainbow colors.

Who invented dispersion of light?

Issac Newton invented dispersion of light in his 1666 experiment of bending white light through a prism.

What does Newton’s disc prove?

A Newton disc is a colored disc or wheel with segments filled with seven different rainbow colors. When the colored disc is rotated, all the colors mix up rapidly and fade to white. In this way, Isaac Newton demonstrated that white light is a combination of the seven different colors found in a rainbow. A combination of primary colors i.e. red, green and blue in the circular disc will also yield the same result.

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