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Precession and its everyday applications

  1. Apr 16, 2012 #1
    Consider a top spinning. From experience we know that it's harder to tip over if it's spinning. I believe that is due to precession but I'm not sure why. I can see when I draw torque and angular momentum vectors, that the angular momentum vector just gets "shifted" a little to the right (or left) when you push it on the side, whilst there is not really anything to prevent the top from completely falling over if it has no original angular momentum.

    So in that way it makes sense. However, what is it that makes a top able to get back up into the original position, when it's been tipped a bit?

    And a last question: Does this kind of thinking also apply to why it's easier to fall on a bicycle, when it's standing still than when it's in motion?
  2. jcsd
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