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Gyroscopic Effect-Want Info

  1. Oct 27, 2005 #1
    Hi, I'm not sure if this belongs here or in general physics. Moderators please feel free to move this post if it is not in the right place.

    I have been perusing the internet looking for information related to the gyroscopic effect without much avail. I have detailed knowledge of linear physics, such as, force, momentum, acceleration and so on. I am hoping that someone here will volunteer to either teach me rotational physics or direct me to good sources. I know linear algebra, multivariable calculus and second-order differential equations well. I just need some help with the concepts. The gyroscopic effect and precession interests me the most. Why does rotation on one axis make rotations on a second axis more difficult? How much more difficult is it to rotate? Any online sources or just plain typed explanations would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Bobby.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2005 #2
    there are two a very interesting references:

    The Giroscopic Compass - The Theory of the Giroscopic Compass
    The MacMillan Company - New York 1944

    And there is also a paper by Ernest F. Barker (Univ. of Michigan) called "Elementary Analysis of the Giroscope". It seems to have been published in American Journal of Physics (not a recent issue, cause it was received on March 3, 1960).

    This last reference is very interesting because it does not mention angular momentum and torque. The only physical reason it mentions is the unbalance of centripetal force from side to side.

    Best Regards,

  4. Oct 27, 2005 #3


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    This is a reminder to everyone that when you cite a paper, you should not only include the first author's name and the journal name, but also the volume, page (or article) number, and year. These are the standard info that practically all physics journals would require in the citations. The date a manuscript was received is rather irrelevant in a citation.

  5. Oct 28, 2005 #4
    First off, thanks for the help. To get myself started on rotational motion, I looked at moments of inertia. I was finally able to proove that torque/(mr^2)would be equal to radial acceleration of a point mass. In other words, moments of inertia now make sense. What should I learn next?

    I did want to mention a sub question of mine though. If torque = F*r, the equation above can be written as F/mr. Why shouldn't we use force when performing calculations? I have a feeling that the answer will be obvious at a later time, but maybe not.
  6. Oct 28, 2005 #5


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    I have a paper on gyroscopes and it references the Feynman Lectures on Physics, chapter 20. I have yet to dig this up, but you may have access to it.
  7. Oct 28, 2005 #6
  8. Oct 31, 2005 #7
    I suppose when I'm threw with my own studies I will write a tutorial.
  9. Nov 4, 2005 #8
    I know, but the xerox copy I have in hand is the only one I can find nearby, and there is no such complete information inside the very paper. So, trying to go beyond the rules and protocols in order to inform the most, I sent him this
    piece of information, even incomplete. Hoping it may help,

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