Spinning a balloon makes it fly in a striaght line

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Scott Lewallen

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Scott Lewallen asked the Naked Scientists:
Hello Naked Scientists.
I've become a long-time listener in only two years - thanks to your podcast archive.  I've finally run out of back issues to listen to!
I loved your bash a balloon experiment, and it reminded me of a party trick I discovered a couple years ago while playing with some kids at a birthday party.  If you take a round balloon blow it up and let it go, it will fly uncontrollably all over the place (just like a knuckle ball).  If you give it a spin about its axis just before you let it go, you can get it to fly in a straight line.  It tends to work best going straight up, and you can get the balloon to reach a pretty respectable height.  It's a nice little demonstration of gyroscopic stabilization.
Keep up the good work,
Scott Lewallen
Duvall, Washington , USA (near Seattle)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 26/03/2011 15:30:02 by _system »