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00:54 IWF (Göttingen) German 2004

Schwanke Achse

An object rotates stably around its axis of maximum moment of inertia, even if it is attached to a bent supple shaft. The experiment also shows that particles leave a rotating object by flying off in a tangential direction.
  • Published: 2004
  • Publisher: IWF (Göttingen)
  • Language: German
02:25 IWF (Göttingen) German 2004

Rotation um freie Achsen

It will be shown that the axis of maximum moment of inertia is also the most stable axis of free rotation. For this, objects of different shapes are suspended on thin wires from the vertical axis of an electric motor, and are rotated at increasing frequencies. They are a cylindrical metal rod, a piece of wood in the form of an egg, and a loose loop of a metal chain.
  • Published: 2004
  • Publisher: IWF (Göttingen)
  • Language: German
01:10 IWF (Göttingen) German 2004

Freie Rotation eines quaderförmigen Körpers

Only the axes of maximum and minimum moment of inertia are free axes of rotation around which a body can rotate stably without mechanical support. Attempts at rotation around other axes lead to wobbling, i.e. unstable rotation. A piece of styrofoam in the form of a parallelepiped (like a cigar box) is thrown into the air while giving it a spin. In order to watch the motion, opposing surfaces have been marked with different colors.
  • Published: 2004
  • Publisher: IWF (Göttingen)
  • Language: German
02:03 IWF (Göttingen) German 2004


The moment of inertia of a body is determined by its mass and its distribution relative to the axis of rotation. An experimenter assumes different positions on the stool which has been converted to a torsional oscillator, and its period of oscillation is determined. From this measurement the moment of inertia can be obtained, and is found to differ by almost an order of magnitude for different positions.
  • Published: 2004
  • Publisher: IWF (Göttingen)
  • Language: German
02:38 IWF (Göttingen) German 2003

Foucaultscher Pendelversuch

A relatively simple demonstration and quantitative determination of the rotation of the earth using a simple pendulum several meters long, the so-called Foucault pendulum. The frequency of rotation can be measured in less than one minute. After carefully damping any spurious vibrations of the pendulum held at its maximum excursion, it is released using a mechanism that avoids shaking it. On the projection screen one can see how the maximum excursion of the pendulum wire shifts from one period to the next. A quantitative evaluation leads to the well known rotational frequency of the earth (1/day). Note that for this evaluation the geographic latitude has to be considered at which the experiment is being performed (f = 51.5 degrees). The actual rotational frequency of the observed rosette trace is here smaller than on the pole. On the equator, it would vanish.
  • Published: 2003
  • Publisher: IWF (Göttingen)
  • Language: German
01:20 IWF (Göttingen) German 2004

Schwingungen einer Stimmgabel

The sinusoidal vibrations of a tuning fork are made visible by means of a reflected light beam. The tuning fork is excited by compressed air, and can be rotated around its vertical axis. One of its legs carries a small mirror off which a laser beam is reflected onto the wall. By uniformly rotating the tuning fork, the time dependence of its vibration can be demonstrated.
  • Published: 2004
  • Publisher: IWF (Göttingen)
  • Language: German
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