See this question for some context about the stability of rotation of a body around different axes.

I am now trying to say that the rotation around the middle axis is very unstable, without using any formulae (since I am writing something like an abstract). Here is what I mean by "middle axis":

Let the moment of inertia around three principal axes be $I_1<I_2<I_3$. The axis with the moment of inertia $I_2$ is the "middle axis".

However, "middle axis" seems a vague phrase if it appears without some context, so can I really use it? What should I say instead? Is there any particular formal name for "middle axis"? I just feel that if I write "middle axis" without writing "the principal axis of inertia" first, people will struggle to see what I mean. But if I do include "the principal axis of inertia", it sounds redundant, since "middle axis" is certainly a principal axis.

  • $\begingroup$ Intermediate axis, as Wuberdall put it, or honestly, second axis of inertia would be understandable for me I think. $\endgroup$ – Ezze Sep 23 '19 at 12:59

It is often referred to as the intermediate axis.

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