Skill 7 of 8
In Progress

Rotational stability & gyroscope

The phenomenon of precession1 explains why a spinning top keeps spinning, and even why a tilted spinning top keeps that same tilt (while rotating – precessing – around).

It apparently seems that the tilting angle stays constant. It doesn’t change. For vertical spinning, the tilting angle is zero, and that value of zero is kept constant.

[VIDEO COMING SOON of spinning top on a surface that is being tilted]

In fact, no matter what happens with the surface, that tilting angle doesn’t change! As long as the spinning object doesn’t slide from the surface or is otherwise forced to topple over, it will at all times keep the same axis. It seems quite stable.[1,2]

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  1. Rotation in space’ (web page), Richard P. Feynman and others, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, ch. 20, 1963, updated on website 2010 by Michael A. Gottlieb and Rudolf Pfeiffer, www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_20.html (accessed Mar. 10th, 2020)
  2. Spinning’ (film), Youtube, Vsauce, 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHGKIzCcVa0 (accessed Mar. 7th, 2019)
  3. Online Etymology Dictionary’ (dictionary), Douglas Harper, www.etymonline.com
  4. Gyroscope Technology and Applications: A Review in the Industrial Perspective’ (article), Vittorio M. N. Passaro, Antonello Cuccovillo and others, Sensors MDPI, vol. 17, 2017, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphy.2019.00005, DOI 10.3390/s17102284
  5. The Anschutz Gyro-Compass and Gyroscope Engineering’ (book), Elliott-Laboratories, Wexford College Press, Germany, 2003, www.loot.co.za/product/elliott-laboratories-the-anschutz-gyro-compass-and-gyro/kfck-486-g310, ISBN 978-1-929148-12-7, pages 7–24
  6. Exploring the Application of Gyroscopes’ (web page), Charles Pao, CEVA: The Experts Blog, 2018, www.ceva-dsp.com/ourblog/exploring-the-application-of-gyroscopes (accessed Mar. 10th, 2020)
  7. Precession of a Gyroscope’ (web page), OpenStax University Physics, University Physics Volume 1, ch. 11.4, 2018, courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-osuniversityphysics/chapter/11-3-precession-of-a-gyroscope/#CNX_UPhysics_11_04_Gyroscope (accessed Mar. 6th, 2020)