Dynamics of an axisymmetric body spinning on a horizontal surface. III. Geometry of steady state structures for convex bodies

M. Branicki, H. K. Moffatt, Y. Shimomura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Following parts I and II of this series, the geometry of steady states for a general convex axisymmetric rigid body spinning on a horizontal table is analysed. A general relationship between the pedal curve of the cross-section of the body and the height of its centre-of-mass above the table is obtained which allows for a straightforward determination of static equilibria. It is shown, in particular, that there exist convex axisymmetric bodies having arbitrarily many static equilibria. Four basic categories of non-isolated fixed-point branches (i.e. steady states) are identified in the general case. Depending on the geometry of the spinning body and its dynamical properties (i.e. position of centre-of-mass and inertia tensor), these elementary branches are differently interconnected in the six-dimensional system phase space and form a complex global structure. The geometry of such structures is analysed and topologically distinct classes of configurations are identified. Detailed analysis is presented for a spheroid with displaced centre-of-mass and for the tippe-top. In particular, it is shown that the fixed-point structure of the flip-symmetric spheroid, discussed in part I, represents a degenerate configuration whose degeneracy is destroyed by breaking the symmetry. For the spheroid, there are in general nine distinct classes of fixed-point structures and for the tippe-top there are three such structures. Bifurcations between these classes are identified in the parameter space of the system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-390
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2066
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Dynamical systems
  • Non-isolated fixed-points
  • Rigid body dynamics
  • Spinning bodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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