# Posts Tagged‘gyroscope’

## Some Not-So-Simple Physics.

You know how I’ve got a thing for simple demonstrations of physical/scientific laws? Well check out this one:

I believe most people are familiar with the concept of a gyroscope: a spinning object (usually a disk) that exhibits some counter-intuitive behaviours like appearing to defy gravity. The above demonstration show cases the mechanism by which a gyroscope functions quite aptly in that the torque from the spinning wheel is applied perpendicular to its surface. This has the effect of making the heavy device seem almost weightless. It would seem to be defying gravity but in fact the act of lifting the wheel up will drain it of some its kinetic energy and as the professor alluded to it could climb about 200ft in the air before it ran out of puff.

Simply amazing, isn’t it? ðŸ˜€

## Why Brakes are Needlessly Inefficient.

I don’t know why but the way brakes on cars, bikes, etc. has always puzzled me. For nearly all breaking systems in the world the main way they work is by converting your car’s kinetic energy (I.E. its movement) into heat through high friction pads attached to the wheel. This means that, for all practical purposes, the energy that went into creating said movement is unrecoverable and reduces the overall efficiency of the system. I figured that there had to be a better way to do it, one that would at least recover some of the energy lost in order to make all forms of transport more efficient.

Such a system became available with the first electric cars through a system called regenerative braking. The system comprises of a small generator that is attached to anÂ axleÂ or wheel hub that is engaged when braking is applied. This is then fed back into the battery, recharging it and extending the range of the vehicle. These systems are quite large however but I always envisioned some sort of system that could be scaled to fit transportation of any size, and someone has come up with it: