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I wish to find an everyday situation that illustrates the following:

A rod is moving in a direction perpendicular to its axis. One end "gets caught" and the rod starts rotating around this end. THE SPEED OF THE OTHER END OF THE ROD WILL THEN INCREASE BY A FACTOR SQRT(3).

Here is an illustration.

Can someone please think of a simple situation in everyday life that illustrates this transition from translation to rotation. Of course it is not needed to see the increase in speed, but just a situation where you could ask a student what speed the rotating object will have. (Just rods flying through the air is not what you see every day.)

If the situation is free of gravity (moving horizontally), it would be a better illustration, I believe.

(A related situation, but too complex and different is if you sit on the top of a telegraph pole. If the pole breaks at the bottom you will suffer less injury (theoretically) if you jump off the pole immediately rather than going down with it. (Speed less by a factor sqrt(1.5) I believe.))

A pair of ice skaters meeting with speed and taking each others hands and starting to rotate together would resemble the situation a little. But the mass of the skaters is concentrated to their bodies and the only thing accelerating would be their hands if they held them out.

(The classical illustration of a skater making a pirouette by pulling in the arms will not help here, of course.)


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What's wrong with visualizing a rod as you describe? Why do you think it's important to have some so-called "real world" example? If you must, consider a line of figure skaters, perhaps with a stiff rod keeping them parallel, and the skater at one end of the line grabs a fixed post. But I think you do your students a disservice by thinking they can't visualize a rod in space. – Carl Witthoft Jun 18 '14 at 17:01
Falling off a ladder? – John Rennie Jun 18 '14 at 17:23
Aha :-), following up on @JohnRennie's comment: Daredevil jumping into free space, then grabbing a horizontal flagpole or streetlight and swinging around same. – Carl Witthoft Jun 19 '14 at 11:35

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