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Why a spinning top won't fall to the ground?

  1. May 2, 2009 #1
    Why a spinning top won't fall to the ground?
    yes I know this question must have been asked before right? tried looking for it on here but I couldn't find it.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2009 #2
    I believe it's because of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyroscopic_Motion" [Broken].

    The following is a purely intuitive, non-technical description.

    When something is rotating in one direction, and you try to rotate it in another direction, it actually tries to move in a completely different direction. So, when the top is spinning about the Z-axis, and it starts to fall over (rotate about the Y-axis), some of that rotation ends up going about the X-axis instead. Because this rotational "falling" does not all go in the same direction, it can't "add up" and fall over as easily.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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