Rate Gyroscope

rate gyroscope

[′rāt ′jī·rə‚skōp]
(mechanical engineering)
A gyroscope that is suspended in just one gimbal whose bearings form its output axis and which is restrained by a spring; rotation of the gyroscope frame about an axis perpendicular to both spin and output axes produces precession of the gimbal within the bearings proportional to the rate of rotation.

Rate Gyroscope


a gyroscopic device used in finding the angular velocity of an object on which it is mounted. The most widely used type of rate gyroscope uses an astatic restrained gyroscope. In such a rate gyroscope (see Figure 1) the rotor of the gyroscope is mounted in the gimbal ring (frame). Rotation of the frame is limited by a spring, which creates a restoring moment. The natural oscillations of the gyroscope are extinguished by the damper.

Figure 1. Diagram of a rate gyroscope: Oξηζ are axes of the reference system; Oxyz are axes of the gimbal ring.

If the object is rotated around the axis (the input axis) with an angular velocity ωζ, the frame will rotate around the axis (the output axis) to an angle β. The dependence of this angle on ωζ is given by the equation β = ωζH/c, where H is the moment of momentum of the gyroscope and c is a coefficient that depends on the stiffness of the spring and on the location of the point where the spring is attached. The values of β are read from the potentiometer; they define the magnitude of ωζ. The sensitivity threshold of a rate gyroscope, in terms of angular velocity of an object, is on the order of tenths of a degree per second. Some other types of rate gyroscopes, which use a floating suspension, are even more accurate.

Rate gyroscopes are used in aircraft as turn indicators and sensing elements in automatic stabilization systems and on ships in roll-and-pitch dampers and other systems. They may also be used in inertial navigation systems.

Devices that simultaneously determine both the angular velocity and the angular acceleration of an object also exist. Such devices are called rate gyroscope-accelerometers; they utilize an astatic gyroscope with three degrees of freedom. Devices of this type are used, for example, in aircraft autopilots.


References in periodicals archive ?
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Positional control of the telescope comes by way of rate gyroscopes for rough fixes, star trackers for tighter orientation, and interferometric fine guidance systems for finding and tracking, nebulae, white dwarfs, and other interstellar objects.