Dominoes are a fascinating toy for adults and kids alike. They are small, yet they can create an incredibly long chain of tiles that can reach all the way to your living room carpet! They’re also fun to line up in creative shapes. You may have even seen a video of a huge domino set that topples to reveal a giant piece of artwork or a portrait. Today’s Wonder will discuss how the domino effect works and why it’s so satisfying to watch these little stones fall over.
In physics, the word “domino” refers to a series of events that are linked together in a chain reaction or sequence. Physicist Stephen Morris explains that when you place a domino upright, it stores energy based on its position. But as soon as you knock it over, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. Some of this energy is transmitted to the next domino, which gives it the push it needs to topple over as well. And so on, until the last domino falls.
While dominos are traditionally made of polymer materials like plastic, some sets are more aesthetically pleasing in natural or organic material such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory, or a dark wood such as ebony. These sets often feature a higher quality finish and weigh more than their polymer counterparts. They’re also more expensive to produce.
Most Dominoes have one numbered side and a blank or identically patterned side. The numbered side of the domino is marked with an arrangement of dots, or pips, similar to those on a die. Each pips represents a different number, ranging from one through nine. The blank or 0 side of the domino can be marked with an Arabic numeral instead of the usual dots if desired, for ease of identification.
The most common domino sets commercially available contain either double six or double nine tiles. Larger sets exist, however, and are popular for those seeking to play longer domino games. The most popular type of domino play is layout games, which can be divided into two main categories: blocking and scoring games.
A seasoned domino player knows that every good set begins with the best foundation. That’s why they carefully examine the surface of each tile to make sure there are no scratches or other flaws that could interfere with the proper placement of the tiles. It’s also important to choose a table that is flat and sturdy.
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, using the domino effect in your story can help readers understand and accept the logic of your scenes. For example, if you write a scene in which your hero performs an act that most would consider immoral, the domino effect will ensure that readers understand why your character’s actions are reasonable in relation to their surroundings and the larger societal norms.
In the Dominoes game, players take turns placing dominoes. Once they’ve played all of their tiles, they pass the turn to the other players. The first player to complete their set wins the game.