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Newton colour wheel experiment

Newton Colour Wheel

One design for a Newton Colour Wheel experiment

newton colour disc

Another design for a Newton Colour Wheel experiment

You will need:

  • Coloured pens, or a colour printer, plus paper.
  • 1 Nail, pencil, cardboard and glue.



  1. Print the picture shown or make your own on paper.
  2. Glue the picture on some cardboard and allow to dry.
  3. Piece the middle of the disc with a nail.
  4. Insert the pencil through the whole and spin the disc.
  5. What colour do you see? Why?

What is going on?

White light is comprised of all the colours of the visible spectrum.
i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet... as well as the shades in between.

Spinning the disc mixed all the different wavelengths of coloured light together, creating white light. The faster you move the disc, the more white light you see. This process is call colour addition.

Colour subtraction occurs when substances that absorb light, such as paint, are mixed together. Mixing coloured paint eventually produces black paint, whereby all visible light is absorbed.

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