A domino is a small rectangular block used in the game of dominoes, bearing an arrangement of dots on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. A set of 28 such blocks makes up a complete domino set. Dominoes are arranged and matched in order to play games, either blocking or scoring. They may also be stood up to create elaborate patterns that can look impressive when they’re knocked down.

The term “domino” is also used as a metaphor for a chain reaction, and in particular, the domino effect, where one event causes other events to follow it. For example, the dropping of a single domino in a line of others can lead to all of them falling down. A similar effect occurs in your brain when a nerve impulse fires a neuron, which then signals other neurons to fire, and so on.

If you’ve ever played dominoes or admired the intricate designs that can be created with them, then you’ll know how powerful this simple toy can be. Physicist Stephen Morris, who is based at the University of Toronto, says that when you pick up a domino and stand it upright, it has potential energy, or energy based on its position. But as the domino topples, much of its potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, or energy of motion.

As a result, dominoes can be used to build curved lines and even 3D structures like towers or pyramids. But if you want to create something really amazing, it’s important to plan out your design carefully. For instance, you might need to calculate how many dominoes are required for your project, and make sure you’re using the right types of pieces.

Dominoes can be purchased in a wide variety of colors, shapes and materials, but the most popular are made of plastic or wood. Some have a glossy finish that helps them resist moisture and dirt. Some are also designed with a nonslip surface to help them stay in place.

You can buy a variety of different domino sets, but the most common are double six and double nine. Each of these sets contains 28 tiles. But larger sets exist, and some are “extended” by introducing ends with higher numbers of spots, adding up to 55 or more tiles in total.

In addition to being a fun hobby, you can use dominoes for other projects, such as art or science experiments. For example, you can create a domino art display that shows how the laws of gravity work, or you can try out a scientific experiment using dominoes to demonstrate how electrical impulses travel in our bodies.

There are many ways to create domino art, but one of the most interesting is to create a track that leads to a specific image or text. You can also create a grid that forms a picture when the dominoes fall, or even an entire house made of them.