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Expand the curriculum with exciting experiments in dynamics and gain insight into how modeling and simulation can enhance and strengthen understanding of physics and math concepts.

Tennis Racket Theorem (Dzhanibekov Effect)

The tennis racket theorem or the Dzhanibekov effect states that for a rigid body with three unique moments of inertia, rotation about the intermediate axis is unstable, while rotation about the other two axes is stable. You can see this theorem in action in this wing nut example.

To run this example, you'll need

The latest versions of System Modeler and Mathematica.

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The Model

Import or create a CAD model of the wing nut and create a SystemModel with the CAD data (including the physical properties).

Use CreateSystemModel functionality to create SystemModels.


The wing nut is initialized with a linear velocity and an angular velocity in a zero gravity environment. You can see in the following video that the wing nut flips during its motion.

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Demonstration of tennis racket theorem using a wing nut.

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Create rigid body components using your CAD data.