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Al Tobias (wat4y) - Office: Gibson S123 & Physics 218, (434) 924-0538

Physics Demo Manual

Demonstrations are cataloged according to PIRA Bibliography


Due to Physics Building renovations, the lead time to set up demo requests has increased due to the need to transport equipment across campus. Please be kind and let me know well ahead of time what you need.

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 Motion In One Dimension
 Motion In Two Dimensions
 Newton's First Law
 Newton's Second Law
 Newton's Third Law
 Statics Of Rigid Bodies
 Applications Of Newton's Laws
 Work and Energy
 Rotational Motion
 Rotational Inertia Rods
  video  - Rolling Objects and Moments of Inertia
  video  - Moment of Inertia Wheel
  video  - The Falling Rigid Body
  video  - Vector Nature of Angular Momentum
 Hero's engine
  video  - Precession of Bicycle Wheel Under Gravity Force
 Suitcase Gyro
 Air Gyro
 Euler's Disk
 Tippe Top
 Properties of Matter

Air Gyro


To show precession of gyro around spin axis in relation to applied torque and also to show nutation.


Turn air on (only a small amount need to be used). Place gyro in position and start spinning by hand. The air gyro is extremely friction free and will rotate an extended period of time at very slow speeds. This facilitates close examination. A loop may be tied on one end of the string and this placed over the end of the gyro shaft (into the groove). When a torque is applied to the shaft, the gyro precesses in the appropriate direction. A swift, light, blow to the shaft will cause nutation. Weights and pulleys may also be used for a constant torque which causes a proportional rate of precession.


  • Air Gyro Table
  • Air Pump
  • Gyro
  • light string