Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Gyroscopic antigravity

Turn, turn, turn...
  [vote for,

This is a tough category and I may not have the intellectual equipment, but here I go...

[UB] made the observation that a vibrating object (in this case, the moon) in a vacuum would eventually stop vibrating - interactions between the molcules would dissipate the energy as heat. However, an object rotating as a whole will not stop rotating - there is no interaction with anything else to absorb the energy. It is possible for immense amounts of rotational energy to be stored in such an object. At a certain speed the thing will fly apart unless it is extremely massive with immense gravity - the case with a fast-rotating neutron star. Or unless there are comparably strong forces holding the object together - the case with an atom.

If the individual atoms in a solid could be made to spin in place very quickly, one could store energy in that solid without changing the appearance of the solid. It seems to me the best type of solid to use for this would be a metal or maybe a crytsal: you would want minimal interactions between atoms that could hinder spin. You would want to start very cold to minimize brownian motion. Possibly you could make them spin using a pulsed magnet (waves hands) or some other energy input.

Once the atoms were really spinning fast, temperature wouldnot matter. Acting like a gyroscope, the mass of atoms would resist deviation from the axis of spin. Since all atoms are spinning with axes aligned, the entire solid would resist deviation from that axis. Although it could fall straight down (without changing the axis) if one side were tethered such that it would have to turn as it fell, the solid would resist gravity. You could stand on it and surf around.

bungston, Apr 01 2004

Plain gyroscopes and gravity http://www.keelynet.../gravity/gyroag.htm
Now ramp this up on the atomic scale... [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Electron orbits http://www.corrosio...riodic/e_orbits.htm
The real paths that electrons follow [5th Earth, Dec 30 2004]

How'bout one big atom? Sorta. Gyrosphere
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 19 2005]


       Since the moment of inertia is dependent on the square of the radius, which in the case of a nucleus is very small, little angular momentum could be stored in this way. In any case, its properties wouldn’t be any different from a gyroscope, which can’t resist gravity either.
ldischler, Apr 01 2004

       Au contraire, mon frere! (link).
bungston, Apr 01 2004

       Maybe not. You said it yourself - interactions between the molcules would dissipate the energy as heat- eventually, the atom's "spin" would slow. This disspipation is pretty rapid, actually.   

       The fact that the atom's electrons spin in different axes (valence) accounts for them holding together to form different elements (metal, crystal). Spin them all the same way, i dunno what would happen, but you won't have a metal ball or crystal anymore.   

       But!! get a magnetic surface/plane, say a tabletop (not metal, MAGNETIC-like the whole tabletop is negative throughout), get two gyros stacked one on toppa the other, same axis but counter-rotating, stick a magnet under the gyros with the "like" charge facing the tabletop (it will repell), and the crazy thing will just FLOAT there till the 2 gyro's power runs out. Freakin cool, saw it on TV.
mailtosalonga, Apr 01 2004

       "If the individual atoms in a solid could be made to spin in place very quickly..."
Would this be the kind of excitation that is used in MRI?
st3f, Apr 01 2004

       How do you capture the energy? Very small pulleys?
RayfordSteele, Apr 01 2004

       After reading some antigravity "ideas" here recently, I thought I would check to see ho wmy contribution was doing. [st3f] - yes. I envision something like an mri being used. [Ray] - not sure what you mean. No capturing of energy would be done.
bungston, May 25 2004

       Your theory on the "rotating atoms" is very flawed. First, a gyroscope does NOT resist movement perpendicular to it's rotational axis. It simply transfers the force 90 degrees for the output. For a practical demonstration, get on a motorcycle doing about 60mph. Put a slight right turn pressure on the handlebars (the force is perpendicular to the rotation of the wheel.) The bike will naturaly lean to the left. The force you put into the wheel is transfered 90 degrees in the direction of spin, in this case towards the front of the bike.   

       Because of this, gyroscopes have 3 axis. The spin, input and output axis. The output axis is always 90 degrees from the input in the direction of spin.   

       What does this mean for your "hoverboard"? If the atoms are bound into a crystaline lattice and cannot move, the object will simply get hot as the energy is converted to heat. If they are in an amorphous structure, the atoms may move around, depending on the bonds of the structure. Either your board moves with no obvious effect, or it disinigrates. Either way, you do not hover. Also, due to the imperfections in matter, the atoms would only spin in sync for a relatively short period of time. Corriolis, precession, and other effects will have them spinning in random directions very quickly.   

       Finally, even if your theory held, the board would remain positioned in INERTIAL space and not be effected by the earths orbit. This means that as the earth rotates, the board would appear to roll over. It would only be useful for short periods of time twice a day. Not to mention that it would seem to lift off into space at any point other than the point of origin. Again, you have to remember that gyroscopes like to move on an inertial plane, not a terrestrial one.   

       For inertial guidance systems, you have to compensate for the earths rotation and orbit with correctional forces. You also have to compensate for distance north or south of the equator, or correolis.
drhawn, Dec 30 2004

       /It would only be useful for short periods of time twice a day./ You could time your coffee breaks accordingly. You would need to build the ramp right outside your workplace, or the short period would be over before you got there.
bungston, Dec 30 2004

       I will give you credit--this is the most plausible antigravity post I've ever seen. That said, I don't really think it will work, because I don't think atoms can rotate independently within a rigid molecular structure. Very good try though.
5th Earth, Dec 30 2004

       /I don't think atoms can rotate independently within a rigid molecular structure/ Perhaps an ionic solid, like salt?
bungston, Dec 30 2004

       Almost all crystals are ionic--covalent bonds are limited pretty strictly to organic compounds, which don't crystallize. I don't think it makes a difference--the atoms are joined rigidly together, in a manner that is the direct result of the shape of their electron shells (Bohr's atom, with it's spherical orbits, is a good approximation but is not actually accurate--elecron oribts are not totally symmetrical like a sphere but actually have very specific and directional shapes, which are directly responsible for why crystals only form the shapes they do. Refer to link for some example shapes of real electron orbitals)   

       It is *possible* AFAIK that a similar effect could be had by making the nucleus rotate independently of the electron shells, since the orientation of the nucleus has no effect on the atom's properties, but this seems even more far-fetched, and once you get down to subatomic scale, concepts like rotation mean a lot less than they do on the macroscopic scale.
5th Earth, Dec 30 2004

       What you need is some smart matter and nanotech - fill any solid with thousands of nanoscopis flywheels running in magnetized bearings. Each one is too small to be seen but quite a bit bigger than a single atom.   

       How will you spin them? Not a clue...
Cats Whiskers, Jan 01 2005

       Ang on a second. Aren't the atoms in any solid "rotating" anyway (insofar as this is meaningful) - nuclei spinning, electrons whizzing around? (These are good old fashioned classical electrons, not your new fangled wavey ones).   

       In which case the only difference here is that the spins are all co-planar and presumably in the same direction? BUT - why would this make any qualitative difference? What I mean is, if you take a lot of gyroscopes oriented in random directions, they (as a mass) would still resist torques. Aligning them all would increase the torque-resistance somewhat in one plane whilst eliminating it in the plane orthogonal to the axes. In other words, a normal material ought to show this gyroscopic effect to a considerable degree anyway, and it doesn't, hence the idea is screwey.   

       And, in any case, as drhawn pointed out, gyros don't resist translation, only rotation. Drop a spinning gyro and it will hit the floor as hard and as fast as a non-spinning one.
Basepair, Mar 19 2005

       /What I mean is, if you take a lot of gyroscopes oriented in random directions, they (as a mass) would still resist torques./   

       If this were the case, one would expect that it would be easier to move around an object at absolute zero, as the component atoms would be spinning less. It would be harder to move a very hot object. Aside from the need for cumbersome oven mitts.
bungston, Mar 20 2005

       That's the point - it isn't. What I meant was that this "material with spinning atoms" is basically not that different from any regular solid. And regular solids behave regularly, regularly.
Basepair, Mar 20 2005

       Ian - "Surely if custard were the medium... controlled cold fusion in the kitchen would be simple." How do you think I'm powering this computer?
Basepair, Mar 20 2005


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