AstroGrav iconAstroGrav Help /Sample Simulations /Xtras /Dzhanibekov EffectVersion 4.5.1

Dzhanibekov Effect

This simulation illustrates the Dzhanibekov Effect, in which a rotating body (such a wingnut on a space station) periodically 'flips' through 180 degrees, counter to intuition.

The rigid body is simulated with seven spheres that are held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. At the center is a small white sphere whose purpose is just to prevent the other spheres from collapsing towards each other. The remaining six spheres are arranged in opposing pairs with masses in the ratio 4 : 2 : 1, with the pair of intermediate masses colored blue. They are in different shades so as to make the 'flipping' clearer.

Since different computers run at different speeds, you may need to edit the evolution time step to get the simulation to run at an acceptable rate. You can edit the masses and velocities of the balls to see what effect it has.

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