69 votes
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Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

No, a car cannot steer on a frictionless surface. This has little to do with gyroscopic action and more to do with conservation of momentum: to turn, even when conserving its speed, the car needs to ...
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50 votes

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

If the wheels had spun fast enough for a gyroscopic effect to become noticeable, the only result on a frictionless surface (which would be the same without a surface at all) is that when you turn the ...
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  • 7,069
28 votes

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

Yes you can It is actually possible with a real car, but you would have to be very patient to steer a little bit. Suppose you have built a car with power on the big front wheels to induce a gyroscopic ...
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20 votes
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Would a double gyroscope still have gyroscopic properties?

Short answer: it cancels the gyroscopic effect (with caveats). As long as the system holds together (see below), if the two halves spin with exactly the same magnitude but opposite sign angular ...
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19 votes
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How do we stabilise satellites so precisely?

Actually reaction wheels or control moment gyros are only part of the answer. To maintain the the accuracy and precision on the order of what Hubble demands requires a fully integrated Feedback ...
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  • 11.3k
11 votes

How do we stabilise satellites so precisely?

They use reaction wheels, which are a type of flywheel to stabilize many spacecraft. For missions that need to be extremely stable (i.e., any mission with telescopes like Hubble), they try to avoid ...
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10 votes

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

Since there is no friction, then it will not affect any other forces that may act on the car. The direction of wind blowing on the car may change its trajectory, as any driver will attest when ...
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  • 1,385
9 votes
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Why does a spinning top get back upright when knocked?

The torque that rotates a top upright, as happens in that youtube video, is due to sliding friction between the top and its supporting surface. Crucial to this effect is the fact that the top in that ...
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  • 7,501
9 votes
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Does motorcycle counter-steering work by precessional motion?

A precessing effect might be there, but it isn't necessary. In order to negotiate a turn you need to initiate the lean first. To obtain a lean to the right you need to steer the contact patch of the ...
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  • 15.8k
9 votes

Antigravity force in powered precession gyroscope

This scheme gets invented every 20 years or so and then gets promptly disproved both by experiment and by dynamical analysis. For example, I thought that I had invented this very scheme with my ...
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8 votes

How, exactly, does a reaction wheel work?

Reaction wheels, momentum wheels, and control moment gyros are three somewhat distinct ways of controlling the rotation and orientation of a spacecraft. Reaction wheels are the easiest to understand, ...
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  • 39.6k
8 votes

Gyroscope in an airplane following the curve of the Earth

It's really hard to build an ideal gyroscope. Forces such as friction will tend to cause problems that make the unit precess. Such errors need to be corrected over time if you want to use it as a ...
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  • 34.6k
8 votes

With respect to what does a Gyroscope maintain its orientation?

A gyroscope maintains its orientation with respect to any inertial reference frame. An inertial reference frame is one in which objects with no force on them remain at rest or in uniform motion (i.e., ...
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  • 50k
6 votes
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What makes a wrist-energized gyroscope rotate faster?

You seem to be saying that friction couldn't speed it up, because nothing else is moving that fast. Well, how fast is it moving? We can imagine the gyroscope axis parallel to the z axis, and the ...
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  • 34.6k
6 votes
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Without using rotational mechanics, why does a gyroscope precess the direction it does?

The reason why a gyroscope does behave in this strange way is that if you try to rotate it's axis in some direction, the "endpoints" of this axis have to be pushed perpendicular to what our first ...
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  • 1,191
6 votes
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What gives energy for precessional motion of gyroscope?

The centre of mass of the rod and the spinning disc drops a little. Thus there is a loss of gravitational potential energy and a gain in the precessional kinetic energy. You can think of it as the ...
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  • 79.6k
5 votes
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How, exactly, does a reaction wheel work?

You are partially correct. If you have two objects with moment of inertia $I_1$ and $I_2$ then if one applies a torque to the other, they will start rotating in opposite directions. So if one object ...
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  • 117k
5 votes
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Why is the tilt of Earth in sync with an orbit around the Sun?

The Earth's tilt doesn't change so much as it's position around the sun changes. Notice the North Pole sees more sun in summer than in winter cause it's tilted towards the sun in summer but not in ...
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  • 5,558
4 votes
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Gyroscope precession

This gyroscope precession isn't very intuitive but you can understand in terms of rotational motion that you probably do have an intuition for. As the torque from the supporting cable tips the wheel, ...
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  • 7,798
4 votes
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Does a gyroscope stay fixed relative to the direction of gravity?

A gyroscope tends to stay fixed relative to it's original direction of spin (angular momentum vector direction). If a torque is applied it will show some resistance. In some scenarios that torque can ...
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  • 4,401
4 votes

Flat Earth experiment, but with gyroscope

yes it would. Although they tend to drift a bit over time anyway in practice.
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  • 4,401
4 votes

Why no torque along this axis?

Torque requires a force that is applied to a lever arm. The quoted statement is saying that the gyroscope is free to rotate about the axis AB, meaning that no rotational force can be applied to it as ...
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  • 11.5k
4 votes
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Are these equations correct for the motion of a gyroscope?

In classroom demonstrations the gyroscope wheel is almost always released gingerly. By gingerly I mean the demonstrator doesn't remove support fast (allowing a sudden drop), instead the support is ...
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  • 15.8k
4 votes

Antigravity force in powered precession gyroscope

There is no magic anti gravity force. The force F comes entirely from the table and is the same whether the gyroscope is spinning or not. If the table is removed the gyroscope simply falls with ...
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  • 68.9k
3 votes

Do comets spin? Why do satellites/space station not spin?

Yes comets spin. Satellites do too - typically they are set to spin in such a way as to point to earth at all times - which means they spin once per orbital revolution. Often small adjustments are ...
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  • 117k
3 votes

Do comets spin? Why do satellites/space station not spin?

By way of analogy, does your car spin? Your car might well go into a spin if you try to turn while driving over a patch of black ice, but that isn't a desirable outcome. Humans have developed lots of ...
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  • 39.6k
3 votes

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

On a completely frictionless floor, with the absence of other external forces, the centre of mass of the car will continue in the same trajectory for ever. Hence no steering is possible. However, ...
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  • 31
3 votes
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How to calculate speed and distance from gyro, orientation and acceleration data?

OK... once more: let's assume we are looking at a map-coordinate system where the x-axis points East, the y-Axis points North and the z-axis points towards the zenith. In such a system there are three ...
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3 votes

Can a car steer on a frictionless surface?

Friction is the only force that would cause the car to move along a different path. On a frictionless surface, the gyroscopic effect could change the orientation of the car a bit, but not the ...
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