Maxwell’s pendulum consists of a wheel hanging by two wires which are
wound in the same direction on an axis passing through its center of
It slowly comes down (low kinetic translation energy).
The falling and rising motion are repeated more than once with a period
that depends on the initial height difference h, on the acceleration due
to gravity g and on the relationship between the radius of the wheel
and the radius of its pivot.
After the wires have been unwound, the wheel goes on rotating rewinding the wires on its axis and coming back up.
If there were no friction, it would go up to the initial level of its fall.
It rotates rapidly (high kinetic rotary energy).
Once released, the wheel comes down under the action of its weight, but it is forced to rotate in order to unwind the two wires.
Through the position sensor it possible to evaluate at which speed the
wheel gets to at the end run the point and to perform accurate
At the end of the fall the total kinetic energy, not considering the
losses, has to be equal to the gravitational energy supplied at the
Maxwells Pendulum Operation Manual, Lab Instructor Guide and Student Workbook. Maxwells Pendulum for Educational Vocational, Didactic Technical Training Equipment Labs.