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A spinning rotor tends to maintain its orientation based on the principle of conservation of angular momentum. This phenomenon is used for measuring and maintaining orientation in many applications, such as compasses and stabilizers in aircraft and spacecraft. In this Demonstration, the spinning rotor is journalled to a ring, which is journalled perpendicular to a second ring, which is journalled to a third ring. Rotate the rings separately and observe how the central spinning rotor maintains its original orientation no matter how the rings are rotated.

Contributed by: Sándor Kabai (September 2007)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




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