Function of gyroscopes

  1. I know the function of gyroscopes and the way a disc always spin perpendicularly to a moving axis. My question is, when a gyroscope is not spinning perpendicularly to the ground, how does it still keep on spinning indefinitely since friction now affects the mechanism?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. brewnog

    brewnog 2,791
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    Gold Member

    It doesn't.

    If this gyroscope is not powered (as with toy gyroscopes), friction will play its part in slowing down the disc. If the gyroscope is powered (as with most gyroscopes with a practical purpose) then the motor provides the force needed to overcome the friction in the bearings.
     
  4. But if it is perpendicular to the ground it theorically never stops right?
     
  5. brewnog

    brewnog 2,791
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    Theoretically, if no force opposes the motion, then it will keep going. However, you'll always have some friction in the bearings and some air resistance slowing things down.
     
  6. Yeah, but the centripetal force also causes friction between the disc and and the bar so it won't spin indefinitely, no?
     
  7. brewnog

    brewnog 2,791
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    Gold Member

    I don't know what you're asking.

    It doesn't keep on going forever, because of friction. It will not spin indefinitely.
     
  8. I mean ignoring air friction, there is friction between the disc and the bar caused by the centripetal force...
     
  9. brewnog

    brewnog 2,791
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    Yes! There is!

    What is your question?
     
  10. pervect

    pervect 8,005
    Staff Emeritus
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    Not really. When you take friction into account, the gyroscope eventually stops. The orientation of the gyroscope really doesn't matter (I'm not sure why you think it's important).
     
  11. Because gravity will have a component in the spinning direction.
     
  12. no mechanical toy that i know of will go forever. friction is like the grinch or whatever. same in your gyroscope.

    does anyone know how they work...?
     
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