Gyroscope precession

Gyroscope – The device is a spinning wheel on an axle. The device, once spinning, tends to resist changes to its orientation (the property of inertia). It demonstrates the principle of conservation of angular momentum, also known as gyroscopic inertia or rigidity in space.

Gyroscopes can be used to construct gyrocompasses which complement or replace magnetic compasses (in ships, aircraft and spacecraft, vehicles in general), to assist in stability (bicycle, Hubble Space Telescope, ships, vehicles in general) or be used as part of an Inertial guidance system. Gyroscopic effects are used in toys like yo-yos and dynabees.

Figure skating

  • Spins (video 1:38) – basic physics demonstrated by ice skaters doing spins and jumps

That’s engineering

  • Inertia – the tendency of a body to maintain its state of uniform motion unless acted on by an external force. This is called Newton’s first law of motion, taken from Galileo’s principle.
  • motion – a change in the position of a body with respect to time, as measured by a particular observer in a particular frame of reference.

Engineering ideas

  • inertia, angular momentum, rigidity, stability, inertial guidance system, motion,force

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • find examples of gyroscopes and gyyrocompasses