Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just Playing Around, You Never Know What You Might Find

So these are experiments done with the prototype in a new orientation. I fitted lazy susan bearings on the bottom so that the entire superstructure can rotate freely in keeping with my new idea that there must be full and free precession in order to allow the machine to do its thing, whatever that is.

Experiments 7.1 show that the machine is resisting only initially, when the torque is applied. (I tried it with the torque in one direction and then with the torque reversed and the results are the same). After the initial resistance, it seems the whole arrangement stops resisting and behaves as if the wheels were not spinning at all, with the entire inner cage holding the wheels and their motors speeding up really fast, with the motors flung out in the maximum moment of inertia configuration.

I'm separating the series into experiments 7.1 and 7.2 because I believe 7.2 stands in its own right as a piece of good experimental work. I found by sheer accident that I could understand the behavior of the machine in experiments 7.1 when I did experiment 7.2. It was really not planned that way though. I simply spun up the wheels and tried to position the prototype before putting an automated torque via the large motor, but I noticed the unusual behavior of the prototype.

I started to play around with it this way and found something interesting. Although there is hardly any bearing resistance to motion in either the clockwise or counterclockwise rotation of the superstructure, it seemed at first that there was resistance to rotation of the superstructure in one direction but not in the other.

1. The wheels have a preferential direction depending on the torque applied. Clockwise torques (as seen from the camera) made the wheels want to point their motors up in the air and counterclockwise torques made the wheels want to point their motors directly towards the bottom.

2. The resistance is only if the wheels were not pointed in that preferred direction already. So for instance, if we are turning the assembly clockwise but the wheels are pointing their motors down, then the applied torque (in the horizontal plane to the outer frame) is resisted and the energy transduced into (the vertical plane in the inner cage) turning the wheels so that the motors point up. Similary, if counterclockwise torque is applied but the wheels are pointing up, then the applied torque (in the horizontal plane on the outer frame)  is resisted and the energy transduced into (in the vertical plane in the inner cage) turning the wheels so that the motors point down.

It occurs to me that this is a magnificent way to tell if the applied torque on a superstructure is clockwise or counterclockwise. That is an application in which we just need to observe the movement of an arrangement analogous to the prototype and record its behavior and the direction of the applied torque can be inferred from it! Hurrah! An application! Maybe someday it will be commonplace to use such an arrangement. Although I must admit I have a tough time thinking of where such a sensor would be necessary. Time will tell I suppose. Although I suspect you could do this with just one gyro too. Possibly its been done already... :)

Perhaps in a spaceship, such a sensor would be useful to deduce the direction of torque upon the spaceship due to any residual rotational forces either onboard the ship or due to external fields. Further, a strong pair of gyros can also soak up or sponge that residual energy up and stabilize the ship by doing what the machine is doing in experiments 7.2. It strongly resisted my applied force and used it to change the direction of the wheels rather than allow the prototype to rotate in the direction of my applied torque. Yay!  Another potential application! Maybe this one has not been done yet!

Experiment 6.2

OK, so this experiment is the same the Experiment 6.1 (part 1), except that the two blue wheels are now at 4600 rpm instead of at 3500 rpm. As is obvious from the video, increasing the speed of the wheels allowed them to return to their behavior as observed in experiment 4.60

OK, so time to confess: After this experiment, I tried many different approaches such as raising the torque, using intermittent torque, sinusoidal torque, positively offset torque, negatively offset torque, you name it however I didn't receive any more strikingly report-worthy change in the behavior of the prototype. Based on some intense thought, I decided to return to the roots of my research in order to try to renew my approach.

I observed one of Eric Laithwaite's old experiments, the one with the large gyro that wouldn't topple. Here is the link to a page with several of his experiments. The video I refer to is the video # 7 on that page.

After much thought I decided that I had based my approach on a faulty assumption: the assumption that it is possible to obtain amplified output in the precessive plane. There is the input plane, where we put force into the system - in my experiments, its always the horizontal plane i.e. I apply forces using the top motor, so that the two wheels get rotated in the horizontal plane. Then, I receive precessive movement in the vertical plane, i.e., the wheels move the frame about some corner of the base, in the vertical direction. Observe, however the experiment in video # 7 in the link above. Laithwaite received output NOT in the plane where of precession (in his experiment, the plane of precession is horizontal -i.e. the wheel rotates about the central axis in the horizontal plane) but rather in the plane of input of torque - i.e. the input to this experiment comes from gravity's pull downward and the gravity defiance of the gyro happens in the vertical plane, the same as that of the applied torque.

Therefore I decided that I need to change my approach and start orienting the prototype's wheels in a different way. I have accordingly started experimenting with the novel orientation. I will start posting videos of my experiments of this new approach next.