# Steering a Car: Investigating the Forces of Rotation

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In summary: Welcome! In summary, when rotating the steering wheel, there is a resistance to turning it around the other axis due to the gyroscopic effect.
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TL;DR Summary
Questions about steering a spinning wheel. Does gyroscopic force oppose me?
In a car we turn the wheels to steer. The wheels however are spinning about their axis of rotation when the car is in motion. Does the revolving motion of the wheels cause a force that opposes trying to rotate the wheels around the other axis to steer? How much opposition is created?

Here's an image to illustrate. Suppose the wheel is quickly spinning about Z. I want to rotate the wheel about X to steer my car. I will not allow any rotation about Y. How hard is it to rotate the wheel about X?

Welcome!
Spinning the steering wheels in the air could give you the actual resistance of the gyroscopic effect.
When rolling on the road and steering, there is additional resistance from the geometry of the steering system, which is built into make the wheels to tend to come back to a straight direction by themselves.

The gyroscopic effect depends on the rotational speed and moment of inertia of the tire.

So I'm just concerned about the resistance to turning the wheels due to the gyroscopic effect. To say it more succinctly, I need to know the relationship between the torque I apply on the X axis and the resultant rotation (speed, acceleration) about X all while Y is constrained so it cannot rotate that way. I know the mass of the wheel, its moment of inertia, rotation speed of the wheel etc.

This is out of my area of expertise (I'm an EE not a physicist).

[Post edited by a Mentor]

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cccc said:
Summary: Questions about steering a spinning wheel. Does gyroscopic force oppose me?

Here's an image to illustrate. Suppose the wheel is quickly spinning about Z. I want to rotate the wheel about X to steer my car. I will not allow any rotation about Y. How hard is it to rotate the wheel about X?
Wow, my "google-fu" has slipped big time---WW memoirs mention this effect yielding a "preferred direction" for aircraft turns; https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/the-torque-roll.21319/ . And, P-38 was designed to prefer neither direction (counter-rotating props) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_P-38_Lightning .

I would expect automobiles to exhibit similar biases; perhaps the CCW tracks in the northern hemisphere?

## 1. What is the purpose of studying the forces of rotation in steering a car?

The purpose of studying the forces of rotation in steering a car is to understand how the car's wheels and tires interact with the road surface to change the car's direction. This knowledge can help improve the handling and control of a car, making it safer to drive.

## 2. What are the main forces involved in steering a car?

The main forces involved in steering a car are the centripetal force, which acts towards the center of the turn, and the frictional force, which acts in the opposite direction to the motion of the car. Other forces, such as the weight of the car and any external forces, can also affect the steering.

## 3. How does the steering wheel control the direction of the car?

The steering wheel is connected to the car's front wheels through a system of gears and linkages. When the driver turns the steering wheel, it causes the front wheels to turn in the desired direction, creating a force that changes the car's direction of motion.

## 4. What factors can affect the forces of rotation in steering a car?

Several factors can affect the forces of rotation in steering a car, including the speed of the car, the weight and distribution of the car's mass, the condition of the tires, and the road surface. These factors can impact the amount of friction between the tires and the road, which can affect the car's handling and steering.

## 5. How can studying the forces of rotation in steering a car improve car design?

Studying the forces of rotation in steering a car can provide valuable insights for car designers to improve the handling and control of their vehicles. By understanding the forces involved, designers can make adjustments to the car's weight distribution, suspension, and tire design to optimize the car's performance and make it safer to drive.

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