Levitron toy

Magnetic field of Levitron

The above picture is a basic concept of how a levitron toy works.

Could the top floating peace stay entrapped in the magnetic field without having to spin if the edges of the balloon keep the top piece from flipping over?

The balloon is neutrally buoyant with the small piece inside and secured not to flip over.

I do know the spinning causes gyroscopic stabilization and keeps it from flipping over to attracting poles. The opposing poles of the 2 magnets creates the lift. The shape of the base magnet keeps the levitation entrapped.

Youtube video In other words could I replace the spinning with a balloon?

I tried to find support to that theory using current models and I am blown out the water wrong because those model were electronically stabilized.

Why would a balloon make a difference?? In this model the difference is the helium balloon may make it weigh less and allow the top to be pushed higher by the base. Like a sail ship mast the buoyancy of the helium and the weight of the secured to balloon top would be kept up right entrapped.

Will not know until I try it. Unless it has been tried some where else this way?

enter image description here

How does a Levitron work?

Where on Earth is the magnetic field intensity stronger?

Could a satellite levitate above the magenetic fields of Earth?

Could a city be built out of Balloons?

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ As a rule of thumb - if your question appears to be on-topic to Worldbuilding or is supported by a question on Worldbuilding, then it is most likely off-topic here and risks closure. Once you have asked a question and received an answer, please do not edit the question in a way that invalidates existing answers. Doing so is inconsiderate of the effort of others in attempting to answer your original question. $\endgroup$
    – user16
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ @GlenH7 I want to work on my questions. Can I add to questions with separation to keep answer validity intact? I don't want to loss privileges. $\endgroup$
    – user4139
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 16:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ your question should be "finalized" or effectively complete before you click "Post your question." Minor editing afterwards is acceptable, but significant changes are not. $\endgroup$
    – user16
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


Could the top floating peace be place inside a helium balloon buoyantly neutral and stay entrapped in the magnetic field without having to spin?

No. The system relies on the gyroscopic stabilization from the spin of the upper magnet.

The Wikipedia page for Earnshaw's theorem explains:

Earnshaw's theorem has no exceptions for non-moving permanent ferromagnets. However, Earnshaw's theorem does not necessarily apply to moving ferromagnets,[3] certain electromagnetic systems, pseudo-levitation and diamagnetic materials. These can thus seem to be exceptions, though in fact they exploit the constraints of the theorem.

Spinning ferromagnets (such as the Levitron) can—while spinning—magnetically levitate using only permanent ferromagnets.[3] Note that since this is spinning, this is not a non-moving ferromagnet.

Switching the polarity of an electromagnet or system of electromagnets can levitate a system by continuous expenditure of energy. Maglev trains are one application

Any product advertised as a levitron that does not appear to require spinning of the levitated item must be powered by an external power source which can supply energy to a polarity-switching electromagnet.

It is impossible for a Levitron with no external power source to maintain levitation without spinning.

  • $\begingroup$ You could add reference to Earnshaw's Theorem. The math goes way above my head, but it proves that you cannot have stable levitation without an external balancing force. With the helium balloon pulling the magnet in the same direction as the repulsion it will only worsen the effect $\endgroup$
    – ChP
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 6:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your original question shows a 'classic levitron', using permanent magnets, which must spin to remain in a stable state. See the end of this video youtube.com/watch?v=AUyo0OGJ35U when the spin is no longer fast enough, and it falls down. The globe in your 'answer' below does not rely on the same theory as the toy in your question, and as such is not suitable evidence that spinning is not required. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanRSwift I may have been hasty on asking for you to leave me alone. Feel free to interact as you see fit and thanks. $\endgroup$
    – user4139
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 2:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Muze - Why has this been un-accepted as the answer? Please can you provide feedback so that I can improve my answer if you feel it's no longer deserving for some reason? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ I am gathering the parts needed to build it.. Your saying no it wouldn't work has driven me. Why does it need a gyroscopic effect? Not to flip over neg to positive. Can it still float if the balloon keep it from flipping over and being in place by magnetic entrapment from the base? That is not known. Why will it not work? $\endgroup$
    – user4139
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 18:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.