Gyroscope

One typical type of gyroscope is made by suspending a relatively massive rotor inside three rings called gimbals. Mounting each of these rotors on high quality bearing surfaces insures that very little torque can be exerted on the inside rotor.

Further discussion of gyroscopes
Precession of gyroscope
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Gyroscope Discussion

The classic image of a gyroscope is a fairly massive rotor suspended in light supporting rings called gimbals which have nearly frictionless bearings and which isolate the central rotor from outside torques. At high speeds, the gyroscope exhibits extraordinary stability of balance and maintains the direction of the high speed rotation axis of its central rotor. The implication of the conservation of angular momentum is that the angular momentum of the rotor maintains not only its magnitude, but also its direction in space in the absence of external torque. The classic type gyroscope finds application in gyro-compasses, but there are many more common examples of gyroscopic motion and stability. Spinning tops, the wheels of bicycles and motorcycles, the spin of the Earth in space, even the behavior of a boomerang are examples of gyroscopic motion.


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Gyroscope Precession

If a gyroscope is tipped, the gimbals will try to reorient to keep the spin axis of the rotor in the same direction. If released in this orientation, the gyroscope will precess in the direction shown because of the torque exerted by gravity on the gyroscope.

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