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Description:
When the levitron is spun above the base, it levitates!



WATCH VIDEO
 

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Possible Incorporated Topics:

  • Electricity and magnetism 



Theory:

   The Levitron is a popular physics toy that shows something called spin stabilized magnetic levitation. The spinning top is composed of a disc of strong permanent magnetic material as well as some plastic and brass. There is also a powerful neodymium magnet in the black base the top spins above. Both of these magnets are oriented so that, when the top is in its upright spinning position, the two magnets will act to repel each other.

    When the top is spinning in the presence of the strong magnetic field from the base magnet, it creates a stability due to a gyroscopic-like effect.  This effect, whose cause is rooted in angular momentum, keeps the top from turning over immediately.  Instead, it precesses around the vertical axis as given by the base's magnetic field.

    As time passes, the top's spin rate slows down and the amount of precession around the axis gets larger and larger until finally, it turns over and no longer floats.

NOTE: Contrary to certain advertised claims, this toy does NOT exhibit anti-gravity!

 


Apparatus:

  •  Levitron toy

 


Procedure:

1. Spin the levitron.

2. Lift the base carefully.

3. Watch the levitron float!