GREGORY MACNICOL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GREGORY MACNICOL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gyroscope. Computer artwork of a gyroscope. This is usually a heavy spinning disc mounted so that its axis is free to adopt any orientation. The separation of the inner and outer parts seen here allow them to rotate separately and produces much the same effect. A gyroscope's special properties depend on the principle of conservation of angular momentum. A gyroscope will stay upright as long as it is spinning fast enough. This is because the direction of the spin axis resists change. This is called gyroscopic inertia. Gyroscopes are used in stabilisation devices and in compasses in boats and aircraft.
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