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Does anyone else remember an old educational physics film with a flying bicycle wheel? Answered

I once saw a physics film covering various aspects of motion and the mathematics thereof.  In the part about rotational forces, a bicycle wheel (no tire) was spun fast enough to actually take off under precession force.  It was very a short flight in an arcing trajectory ending in the wheel inverting its axis and slamming into the ground...hard.  I've been wracking my brain trying to remember the name of the film to no avail.


Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

3 years ago

I don't recall seeing this one.

A place like archive.org ?might? have it in their moving image archive,


but then it's a matter of guessing what words will bring it up in a search.

For example, here are two titles that came up in a search for "angular momentum"



BTW, physics demonstrations, also called physics demos, are almost another form of folklore, i.e. a way people tell stories. (Other examples include, fairy tales, urban legends, jokes, true myths, etc.)

If this physics demo is a popular one ( It has something to do with precession, amirite?) you might be able to find a description, and/or link to a video of someone doing it, in a list of physics demos.

Where do you find the comprehensive master list of physics demos? I dunno.


Dark Solar
Dark Solar

Answer 3 years ago

Well it wasn't all about precession, more like a general breeze-thru of various aspects of physics, starting with bouncing balls, wave patterns, etc.; the bicycle wheel was in the segment on gyroscopes/gyroscopic forces. They did the usual demo with a gyroscope on a stand, then a string, then a guy sitting in a swivel chair holding a spinning wheel. And then there was this quick scene where the guy that had been in the chair puts the bicycle wheel on a pivot belted to what looks like an electric motor and dashes out of frame followed almost immediately thereafter by the wheel jumping into the air and making the described flight.

Maybe I'm dating myself, but it was an actual black and white reel-to-reel film run on a projector soooo...yeah. *polishes glasses, contemplates pros & cons of a new cane*

Thx for the links!!! :D