20 October 2014

"Two trillion rotations per second"

That's the speed of a molecular gyroscope.
Molecular gyroscopes are chemical compounds or supramolecular complexes containing a rotor that moves freely relative to a stator, and therefore act as gyroscopes. Though any single bond or triple bond permits a chemical group to freely rotate, the compounds described as gyroscopes may protect the rotor from interactions, such as in a crystal structure with low packing density or by physically surrounding the rotor avoiding steric contact... the rate for inertially rotating p-phenylene without barriers is estimated to be approximately 2.4 x 10^12 per second (2,400,000,000,000 RPS)...
The human mind (at least mine) is not capable of conceiving of such behavior.


  1. A large wheel requires a relatively low rps for its rim to reach a certain speed, whereas to reach that same speed a small wheel would have to spin much faster in terms of revolutions per time unit. Since the upper limit for the outside surface to move is light speed, the result is that very small objects can attain a much higher rps before they reach that limit than very large objects can. So I guess those molecular gyroscopes are spinning so fast just because they can :)

  2. Drabkikker, in the case mentioned above, the rotor is rotating about an axis in the plane of the disc, rather like a coin flipping over and over, so you're still right but the imagery is slightly different.


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