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In general relativity, we assume that the connection is torsion-free. In some alternate theories, like Einstein-Cartan theory, we consider connections with torsion.

According to this answer, torsion can be measured through the precession of spins, but this requires understanding spinors in GR. Is there a way to directly measure torsion without using spin, ideally through a simple mechanical system? (I don't care if this is an impractical experimental test, I just want intuition for what the torsion tensor means physically.)

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The papers cited on this question may give you an answer or at least some insight. As far as I have read, the only paper that uses spinors is Flanagan and Rosenthal (arXiv:07041447).

(I'd have put that in a comment but I don't have enough reputation)

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