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!

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