Misconceptions about gyroscopic stabilization

Müller P, Sack A, Pöschel T (2020)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2020


Book Volume: 88

Pages Range: 175-181

Journal Issue: 3

DOI: 10.1119/10.0000517


A spinning gyroscope resists small torques in directions perpendicular to its axis, that is, the angular orientation of a body rigidly attached to a gyroscope is stable against rotation around certain axes. Since the angular orientation of a body is described by three angles (e.g., Euler angles), one might conclude that it is possible to stabilize the orientation of an object against rotation using a combination of three gyroscopes spinning around non-collinear axes. We perform experiments under conditions of weightlessness to demonstrate that systems of coupled gyroscopes cannot arrest the angular orientation of free-floating objects, in contradiction to a widespread myth about gyroscopic stabilization, based on the above arguments. (C) 2020 American Association of Physics Teachers.

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Müller, P., Sack, A., & Pöschel, T. (2020). Misconceptions about gyroscopic stabilization. American Journal of Physics, 88(3), 175-181. https://dx.doi.org/10.1119/10.0000517


Müller, Patric, Achim Sack, and Thorsten Pöschel. "Misconceptions about gyroscopic stabilization." American Journal of Physics 88.3 (2020): 175-181.

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