Summer in the Northern hemisphere means outdoor cooking. Matches are old school, and you are more likely to use a piezoelectric lighter to start your grill. [Steve Mould] has one, but he didn’t understand the physics behind why it works, so he decided to do the research and share it in a video.
The first two minutes is a recap of things you already know. But after that [Steve] gets into the crystal lattice structure of quartz. Using some computer animations and some peanut butter lids he shows you exactly why compressing the crystal generates electricity.
If you think you don’t care about barbecue lighters, [Steve] reminds you that the same effect is what makes the quartz crystals we use in crystal oscillators work. In particular, he looks at how a little crystal that vibrates at 32,768 Hz can make a watch.
We really liked the steel rule demonstration in the second video. It would be a great thing to do for a science class. The fact that the crystals replaced actual tuning forks inside watches shows how far things have changed in the last 50 years.
If you think you know about flip flops, by the way, you may find the end of the second a bit surprising, and quite the unusual use of flip flops.