Table of Mechanics Demonstration List of Mechanics Equipment & Supplies Lecture Demonstrations

# MITAC Gyroscope, 1Q50.30

Topic and Concept:

Location:

Abstract:

A commercially built motorized gyro on a gimbal includes counterweights.

 Equipment Location ID Number MITAC Gyroscope ME, Bay A12, Shelf #1 Weights ME, Bay A12, Shelf #1

Important Setup Notes:

• One of the three of our MITAC gyroscopes does not allow the outer ring to rotate around the vertical axis.

• It takes a few seconds for the flywheel to get up to speed.

Setup and Procedure:

1. Place the MITAC gyroscope on the table and unlock all the retaining screws that hold the rings in place.
2. Plug it in to a 110v outlet.
3. Weights can be added to either end of the Axle "arrow" (ie. Axes of rotation) to show precession and/or nutation.

Cautions, Warnings, or Safety Concerns:

• Keep fingers away from the moving parts of the gyroscope while it is running.

Discussion:

Once the flywheel is at full speed, it now has angular momentum which is a conserved quantity provided that there exists no external torque on the flywheel's rotating axes.

When one tries to perturb the rotational motion of the flywheel by moving the outer most ring & base, azimuthal angle, the Axle "arrow" or axis of rotation of the flywheel tends to remain stationary. If one tries to move the central ring or the axle of the flywheel, this well cause the flywheel to wobble and rotate. This wobbling motion is a combination of two effects: nutation and precession. Nutation is essentially a wobble of the axis of rotation toward and away from the original axis. Precession is the rotation of the new axis of rotation around the original axis. These are shown in the graphic below. One can add a weight to the rotational axle of the flywheel to enhance the precession and nutation effects.

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