I think I have understood gyroscope in terms of angular momentum and how the torque of gravitational force moves it the way it does.

Also I understand the direction in which it would move: What determines the direction of precession of a gyroscope?

And the working : https://physics.stackexchange.com/a/226485/102169

I saw a couple of videos about it: https://youtu.be/ty9QSiVC2g0


Note how the wheel rotates around. So the Centre of Mass of the wheel goes around the wheel in a horizontal circle. Which force acts on the system of Rod and the Wheel that makes it perform circular motion?

I see it analogous to a particle performing circular motion or a rod being rotated about one of its end (a compound system).

Since the string attached would only pull it up, I understand why it doesn't fall off against gravity but why does it perform circular motion without a centripetal force?

Is anything wrong in my analogy? Or is there a force I don't see?


1 Answer 1


The point about which the gyroscope pivots provides the centripetal force: this is either friction, or some hinge mechanism.

  • $\begingroup$ What if I tie that to a vertical string? What applies force in horizontal direction? If you could please watch the little video I linked above. The first one that is. Can you explain what is happening there? Thanks. Appreciate your effort. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 14:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The string is not vertical and so is able to provide a component of the tension which provides the force to produce the centripetal acceleration of the centre of mass. $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    Feb 18, 2016 at 19:59

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