[:PiraScheme#Mechanics: Table of Mechanics Demonstration]

[:MEEquipmentList: List of Mechanics Equipment & Supplies]

[:Demonstrations:Lecture Demonstrations]

Human Gyroscope, 1Q50.15




One stands on a rotating platform and with a spinning bicycle wheel, rotate the bicycle wheel so that it transfer some of it's energy to the rotating platform.



ID Number

Rotating Platform

ME, [:MechanicsCabinetBayB9: Bay B9, Shelf #1]

Bicycle Wheel

ME, [:MechanicsCabinetBayB12: Bay B12, Shelf #1]

Important Setup Notes:

  1. The volunteer may get dizzy from spinning.


  1. Set Rotating Platform out on the floor.
  2. Level the platform

Cautions, Warnings, or Safety Concerns:

  1. Demonstration may require practice.
  2. Fingers may get caught in the spooks of the moving bicycle wheel.
  3. Do to the high rotational speed of the bicycle wheel, stopping the wheel can be difficult.


First have the volunteer raise the bicycle wheel vertically over there head, with the wheel not spinning and then with it spinning. The volunteer must hold the spinning bicycle wheel by the ends of its axle horizontally at arms length. Have the bicycle wheel spun up to high speed by hand and give it to either the instructor or a volunteer or whomever is standing on the rotating platform.

Again have them hold the bicycle wheel firmly by its handles while standing on a rotating platform to help illustrate Newton's third law (action and reaction) and the conservation of angular momentum. One can sit on a stool that is placed on the rotating platform as well.

The person now can rotate one direction or the other by turning the axis of the bicycle wheel in different directions. For best results, orientate the spinning bicycle wheel's axis perpendicular to it original direction, so that it is vertical or parallel to the rotational axis of the platform. This well transfer the most angular momentum to the rotating platform to make the platform and person rotate the opposite direction of the spinning bicycle wheel.





  1. [http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/demobook/chapter1.htm demobook/chapter1]

  2. [http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu/demobook/uwpress.htm Physics Demonstrations]