Could you build a small unit that could be placed inside a spacecraft and still accelerate the spacecraft with the use of a number of flywheels in gyroscope frames, with the whole engine being housed within a framework like something similar to a engine in a car?
There is a cycle for the gyroscope flywheels that they have to move through with one stroke being analogous to a power stroke for a piston in an internal combustion engine and at least one return stroke where the other gyro flywheels push it back in preparation for its power stroke. The previous post describes a set up that would be analogous to a two stroke engine. You might also be able to have smaller engines with four or more gyro-flywheels working together within a fixed frame.
Its sort of weird compared to what we are used to because on earth and with internal combustion engines the usual forces are normal, but for these gyro-engines (for want of a better term) with flywheels based on the conservation of angular momentum the force that you push against is shear with regard to the axis of rotation. It is sort of opposite to how you would work with fluids and even solids. But it still serves to provide something similar to a useful inertial framework against which to apply a force to, so as to benefit from a balancing counter force, as with Newton’s 3rd law of motion – but with rotational mechanical systems. I think it should at least be explored to see if it can work.
With the power stroke you need to apply a shear force to the flywheel through the gyroscopic framework so that the change in angular momentum of the flywheel makes it move and also translates mechanically throughout the rest of the engine, given that angular momentum is conserved. Perhaps you could match off pairs of gyro-flywheels so that the net force is in the desired direction, ie that the rotational forces are fashioned so that the net effect is linear. The spacecraft would in effect be pushing against the rotational momentum in the flywheels. Electrical energy would be used to make the flywheels spin and electrical energy would also need to be used to apply the force that changes the direction of the angular momentum of the flywheels, which in turn provides the acceleration to the spacecraft. The spacecraft would be accelerated, if this scheme is feasible, through a framework that holds the gyro-flywheels as they move through their cycle.
If the gyro-engine is fixed in the spacecraft you might need another system to stabilise and change the direction of the craft while the engine accelerates only in one direction like a main engine. The flywheels would have to be powered down whenever there would need to be a change of direction.
Perhaps it sounds fanciful. The point is that a gyro-flywheel would move freely in all directions as a unit, but it would resist a change of direction of the angular momentum vector of the flywheel, and if the direction of angular momentum is forced to change slightly then the conservation of angular momentum will translate through to the system as a whole. All the energy this system would need could be supplied through electrical energy. Itâ€™s not a free ride but it might turn out to be an efficient and direct way to accelerate a spacecraft with electrical energy.
If you could accelerate a spacecraft through electrical gyro-flywheels you might even be able to use this to launch it into orbit and also return it safely into the atmosphere as described in previous posts, but without the need for external lasers and so on. It might even work on earth once the technology is mature as an alternative to aerodynamic modes of transport. You might even build these kinds of engines to power heavy road vehicles, that could not seriously be powered by electric motors alone. Itâ€™s worth researching anyway to see if the idea has merit. I think this idea could be major breakthrough.