When a container full of liquid spins about an unconstrained axis of rotation, the fluid motion within the container may cause an instability. It is observed Pocha  that for a cylinder rotating about its symmetry axis, the axis may begin to nutate with the nutation angle growing exponentially in time. Instabilities of this type have serious implications for modern satellites which have fuel tanks filled with liquid fuel. These satellites are often spin stabilized, and spin about their axis of least moment of inertia. Wobble in the spin axis can cause the satellite to point in the wrong direction (or worse to become completely unstable).
KeywordsResonant Frequency Fuel Tank Collapse Time Inertia Wave Thymol Blue
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