10. Gyroscopes and Tops

A spinning bicycle wheel suspended by a rope from one end of its axle makes an impressive gyro. A skillful demonstrator can start the wheel precessing smoothly so that the axle remains horizontal.

Other gyros available:

  1. Two standard gyros spun up with a small motor.

  2. Fully gimboled gyro to demonstrate maintenance of axis of rotation and inertial guidence.

  3. Gyrowheel a small bicycle wheel with a motorized gyro inside, can be used on the rotating platform or as a precessing top

  4. Cenco top a large bicycle wheel sized gyro, the center of mass of which can be varied above and below the point of support.

  5. Massive air bearing ball gyro operates with so little friction that the rate of rotation can be made smaller than the rate of precession. Measurements can be taken to check the relationship between the angular velocities of rotation and precession.

  6. Various tops are available including a "tippy top" consisting of a hemisphere with an axle shaft above. When set spinning on the hemisphere, the top will flip upside down and spin on its axle.

  7. A "perpetual motion" top spins indefinitely with no apparent external energy source.

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