PURPOSE: To illustrate gyroscopic precession in a surprising way.
DESCRIPTION: Spin the wheel, then hang it from the end of the rope with the rope vertical and the wheel axel in a horizontal orientation. It will precess with the rope remaining vertical.
Click your mouse on the photograph above to see a video of the action.
SUGGESTIONS: Set up the students for this by showing them this same bicycle wheel gyroscope on a rigid pivot. Then ask them if one of the conditions to obtain precession might be a strong, rigid pivot!
See Question of the Week #94 for information on using this demonstration to enhance class involvement.
REFERENCES: (PIRA 1Q50.21) See also demonstration D4-03: BICYCLE WHEEL GYROSCOPE ON PIVOT.
EQUIPMENT: Bicycle wheel gyroscope and wheel.
SETUP TIME: 10 minutes.