Honor’s College Freeman Research Journal

Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type




First Advisor

Yi Qi

Second Advisor

Daniel Vrinceanu


A chain of metallic balls or spheres leaps over and above the rim of a container in which it rests tracing a path like a fountain when one end of the chain is given a push towards the ground. This interesting phenomenon was discovered by Steve Mould to describe at atomic level what happens to the molecules in a self-siphoning fluid. However, to his surprise, the chain of beads did not flow over the rim of the container as the self-siphoning fluid did.

But why does this chain do this and what forces cause this fountain? Propositions for the origin of the force that cause of this fountain motion have been presented by Dr. Biggins and Dr. Warner as well as Rogério Martins. Analysis and study of the motion of the chain as it traces this fountain path will help towards the understanding of the origin and nature of this force that leads to the leap into a fountain.

The experiment shall be carried out, and the motion filmed to assist in the study and analysis of this rather interesting effect and the data collected and plots made. Different arrangements of the chain will be attempted, and computer simulation of the motion will assist in the understanding and learning of this entertaining Mould Effect.

It is my objective that at the end of the process – from reviewing previously published literature, undertaking of the experiment with different data collection methods, calculation and simulation – a good understanding of the chain fountain shall be better grasped and appreciated.

Included in

Physics Commons



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