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Maxwell’s Dynamical Top

Maxwell designed his dynamical top specifically ‘for exhibiting the phenomena of the motion of a system of invariable form about a fixed point’. The motion is exhibited by means of a coloured disc. The dynamical top is carefully designed with sufficient adjustments to enable the centre of mass to be positioned precisely at the point of support, the axle to be made a principal axis of inertia and for each of the principal moments to be varied relative to one another.

In this video we see demonstrated a top sold in 1885.  Dr Roger C Clark’s short paper on the subject is available here.



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