Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Coller, Brianno D.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering


Mould; Steve; 1978-; Science--Experiments; Chains--Experiments; Beads--Experiments


Steve Mould, a science journalist, performed a simple experiment, he filled a beaker with a beaded chain and elevated the beaker; and then he let one end of the chain fall over the edge of the beaker. When the free end of the chain fell below the height of the chain within the beaker, the weight of the chain would pull additional chain out of the beaker. He noticed that the stream of chain lifted well above the rim of the beaker. It is robust and easily repeatable phenomenon that has been called the chain fountain. In an article published in the Royal Society's physical sciences research journal, physicists John Biggins and Mark Warner provided an explanation focuses on individual links as they are lifted off the top pile of chain. Pulling upward on the top link of the chain in contact with the pile induces a rotation. To prevent the translating and rotating top link from penetrating the pile, the top pile of chain must push upward on the link. This push from the top pile is believed to be the impetus that sends the chain well above the rim. In this research, we developed a relatively high fidelity simulation of the chain dynamics to reproduce the chain fountain effect and to test the explanations proposed by John Biggins and Mark Warner. By changing inertial properties of the chain links, and by changing boundary conditions, one can add or remove effects that are thought to create the fountain.


Advisors: Brianno D. Coller.||Committee members: Abhijit Gupta; Ji-Chul Ryu.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


35 pages




Northern Illinois University

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