### Video Transcript

A gyroscope spins with its tip on
the ground, which produces negligible frictional resistance. The gyroscope has a radius of 5.0
centimeters and a mass of 0.30 kilograms and spins at 20 revolutions per second. The center of mass of the
gyroscopeβs disc is at a 5.0-centimeter displacement from its tip along the
rotational axis of the gyroscope. What is the precessional period of
the gyroscope?

We can call this precessional
period capital π sub π and begin on our solution by drawing a diagram. The gyroscope in this example
consists of a rotating disc with a mass of 0.30 kilograms and a radius, weβve called
π, 5.0 centimeters. The center of the rotating disc is
a distance, also π, 5.0 centimeters above the ground. And the gyroscope rotates at an
angular speed weβve called capital Ξ© of 20 revolutions per second.

We know that, under these
conditions, the axis that runs through the center of the spinning gyroscope and is
perpendicular to it will begin to deviate from a vertical line. As the axis of the gyroscope moves
off of that original vertical line, we know that this axis itself will slowly begin
to rotate about the original vertical. That rotation will itself have an
angular speed we can call π sub π, the precession angular speed.

We can recall the mathematical
relationship describing that angular precession speed, π sub π. That angular rate is equal to the
mass of our object times the acceleration due to gravity times the distance from the
point of contact of the object with the ground to its center of mass all divided by
its moment of inertia times its own angular speed, π.

As we consider this relationship
for our scenario, weβre given the mass, π, of the gyroscope. And the acceleration due to
gravity, π, we can treat as exactly 9.8 meters per second squared. The distance from the point of
contact of our gyroscope with the ground to its center of mass is also given to us,
5.0 centimeters. So, all that remains is to solve
for the objectβs moment of inertia and its angular speed in radians per second.

Knowing that our gyroscope is a
disc rotating about a line through its center, when we look up the moment of inertia
for an object of that shape, rotating in that way, we see itβs equal to one-half the
objectβs mass times its radius squared. Plugging that in to our expression
for π sub π, we see that the mass value of our gyroscope cancels out, as does one
factor of its radius π. So, the angular precession speed is
equal to two times the acceleration due to gravity over the radius of the disc times
its angular speed in radians per second.

Weβre not given the angular speed
of the disc in those units, but we are given its angular speed in units of
revolutions per second. Knowing that one revolution about a
circle is equal to two π radians, that means we can substitute capital Ξ© times two
π in for lowercase π, the angular rotation rate of the disc in radians per
second. This expression will let us solve
for π sub π, but what we wanna solve for is π sub π, the period of the
precession.

We know that, in general, period is
equal to two π divided by angular speed. If we apply this relationship to
our scenario, we can say that π sub π is equal to two π over π sub π, or two π
over this expression weβve arrived at. Simplifying this expression, we see
itβs equal to ππ times four π squared radians per revolution all divided by two
times the acceleration due to gravity. A factor of two cancels from our
numerator and denominator. And weβre now ready to plug in and
solve for π sub π.

When we do plug in, weβre careful
to insert our radius π in units of meters. Before we calculate this result,
letβs take a look at the units in this expression to see that they work out. First, the units of meters in our
numerator and denominator cancel one another out. And when we multiply our angular
speed in revolutions per second by our angular conversion from radians to
revolutions, the units of revolutions drop out. And with the factors of time in
seconds involved, we can see that our final units will be radian seconds, or simply
seconds. That agrees with what weβd expect
for units for a period π. When we do enter these numbers on
our calculator, we find a result, to two significant figures, of 2.0 seconds. Thatβs the precessional period of
this rotating gyroscope.