How Do Dominoes Work?

Domino is a game played by two or more people using rectangular tiles with a pattern of dots, called pips. Each domino has a different number of pips on its edge that corresponds to the numbers 1 through 9. The pips are raised or lowered as required by the rules of a particular domino game. Each player draws a hand of dominoes from the stock, or pile, and plays them according to the rules of the game. The player with the most pips in his hand is considered the winner. Often, a player can “buy” dominoes from the stock (see Passing and Byeing below).

When a domino falls, it converts some of its potential energy to kinetic energy that pushes the next domino over. Some of this kinetic energy is transmitted to the next domino, and so on—a chain reaction that continues until the last domino falls.

The most common type of domino games are positional, where each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against another to form an ordered sequence, or some specified total. The shape that develops the chain of dominoes adds to the fun and challenge of the game.

When Hevesh creates one of her mind-blowing domino displays, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. She starts by considering the theme or purpose of the installation, brainstorming images or words she wants to use, and then plans out how to arrange the dominoes. Her plans might include grids that form pictures or walls, or 3-D structures like towers or pyramids.

In the past, many researchers have tried to predict which dominoes are most likely to fall in a given situation, or how long it will take for the last domino to fall. The problem is that the more complex the domino chain, or sequence of events, the harder it is to determine the probability of a certain event occurring.

A number of advanced mathematical models have been developed to help with this task. However, they have limitations because they cannot account for all possible domino scenarios at once. Thus, they are only partially useful for risk assessment and management. A different approach is to use the analysis of actual accidents. This provides useful data for identifying the most common types of dominoes, their sequences, and the substances that are related to these accidents. This data is readily available in professional literature and in reports from specific institutions and databases. This information is critical for determining the best practices and protocols to prevent similar incidents in the future. This information also helps to understand the reasons for certain safety and security incidents that occur. This is important because, in most cases, these incidents are preventable.