A tag for questions about the mechanical interactions of rotating objects, including torque and angular momentum.

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41
votes
7answers
5k views

Why does everything spin?

The origin of spin is some what a puzzle to me, everything spin from galaxies to planets to weather to electrons. Where has all the angular momentum come from? Why is it so natural? I was also ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Derivation of Newton-Euler equations of motion

I am in search of a simplified version of the derivation of Newton-Euler equations of motion (both translational and rotational) for a rigid body (3D block) that has a body fixed frame and where the ...
49
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is the Earth so fat?

I made a naive calculation of the height of Earth's equatorial bulge and found that it should be about 10km. The true height is about 20km. My question is: why is there this discrepancy? The ...
42
votes
8answers
12k views

Why doesn't a bike/bicycle fall if going with a high speed?

Why does a bike/bicycle fall when its speed is very low or close to zero and is balanced when going with a high speed?
33
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does this object periodically turn itself?

See below gif image taken from here. Or see this Youtube video about 30 sec in. Is this a real effect? Why does it seem to turn periodically? Can it be explained by classical mechanics alone? ...
25
votes
4answers
23k views

Stability of rotation of a rectangular prism

I've noticed something curious about the rotation of a rectangular prism. If I take a box with height $\neq$ width $\neq$ depth and flip it into the air around different axes of rotation, some motions ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Force applied off center on an object

Assume there is a rigid body in deep space with mass $m$ and moment of inertia $I$. A force that varies with time, $F(t)$, is applied to the body off-center at a distance $r$ from its center of mass. ...
57
votes
6answers
4k views

Is there a way for an astronaut to rotate?

We know that if an imaginary astronaut is in the intergalactic (no external forces) and has an initial velocity zero, then he has is no way to change the position of his center of mass. The law of ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does a cuboid spin stably around two axes but not the third?

Let $C$ be a cuboid (rectangular parallelepiped) with edges of lengths $a < b < c$. Consider an axis that passes through the centers of two opposite faces of $C$. There are three such axes, ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

Why does Venus spin in the opposite direction?

Given: Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum. Reverse spinning with dense atmosphere (92 times > Earth & CO2 dominant sulphur based). Surface same degree of aging all over. Hypothetical large ...
24
votes
7answers
10k views

Why don't spinning tops fall over?

One topic which was covered in university, but which I never understood, is how a spinning top "magically" resists the force of gravity. The conservation of energy explanations make sense, but I don't ...
17
votes
6answers
5k views

Why does the weighing balance restore when tilted and released

I'm talking about a Weighing Balance shown in the figure: Press & Hold on onside of the horizontal beam and then release it. It makes some oscillations and comes back to equilibrium like shown ...
7
votes
1answer
951 views

Why do wheels appear to revolve opposite to the direction they are rotating?

When viewing cars that are driving along side of us, sometimes their wheels appear to be turning backwards even though they are traveling in the same direction as our car. Why do they look that way?
9
votes
7answers
3k views

What is the proof that a force applied on a rigid body will cause it to rotate around its center of mass?

Say I have a rigid body in space. I've read that if I during some short time interval apply a force on the body at some point which is not in line with the center of mass, it would start rotating ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Derivation of Euler's equations for rigid body rotation

Sorry for using this image, but I thought this was the most convenient way of asking this question. Please zoom in. I do not understand from the line, "Now, in the body frame $T = (T_{x'}, T_{y'}, T_{...
7
votes
4answers
6k views

Rotation of a slipping ladder

Imagine a ladder leaning against a wall. All surfaces are smooth. Hence the ladder will slip and fall. While falling it rotates because there are external torques acting on it. My question is about ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible to produce gravitational waves artificially?

Why don't they make a ball with irregularities, say the size of a tennis ball, then spin it very rapidly, so it would produce gravitational waves like a spinning star with irregularities on it? Is ...
9
votes
4answers
13k views

What determines the direction of precession of a gyroscope?

I understand how torque mathematically causes a change to the direction of angular momentum, thus precessing the gyroscope. However, the direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise, of this ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Tricky conceptual question: ball sliding and rolling down incline [closed]

We all are familiar with the classic ball rolling down the incline exercise in rotational dynamics. Here is quite a tricky conceptual problem: You have an incline of fixed height, but the angle ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?

AFAIK all the celestial objects have a spin motion around its axis. What is the reason for this? If it must rotate by some theory, what decides it's direction and speed of rotation? Is there any ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Angular momentum of a translating and rotating body

If a rod is rotating about one end, does it have pure rotation or do you also consider the translation of centre of mass when calculating its angular momentum? Also, how would one calculate the ...
11
votes
2answers
841 views

The secret behind the spinning, asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top?

When you spin an asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top, the heavy part actually rises to the top. Why is this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0SZZTBQmEs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
12
votes
9answers
12k views

How do you explain spinning tops to a nine year old?

Why don't spinning tops fall over? (The young scientist version) My nine year old son asked me this very question when playing with his "Battle Strikers" set. Having studied Physics myself, I am very ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Torque direction meaning

I apologize if this question is dumb, but I've looked all over for a straightforward answer and either I can't find one or the terms are too complex for me to understand. I have only a rudimentary ...
1
vote
4answers
240 views

Rotation systems. Problem interpreting an equation

In this equation: $$ \mathbf a_i\overset{\rm def}{=}\left(\frac{d^2\mathbf r}{dt^2}\right)_i=\left(\frac{d\mathbf v}{dt}\right)_i=\left[\left(\frac{d}{dt}\right)_r+\boldsymbol\Omega\times\right]\left[...
3
votes
2answers
641 views

Deriving $T = F\ r = I\alpha$ for a rigid body

For a single point mass : $\tau=F_{t}r=ma_tr=(m r^2)\alpha = I\alpha$ For multiple point masses bound together : $\sum \tau_i = (m_ir_i^2)\alpha = I\alpha$ But how do we go from that to $I\alpha = ...
8
votes
5answers
30k views

Why does a ballerina speed up when she pulls in her arms?

My friend thinks it's because she has less air resistance but I'm not sure.
49
votes
11answers
15k views

Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller?

Why does dust stick to rotating fan propeller? Intuitively, most people (including I) think of the dust will not stick to rotating fan propellers. EDIT 1: Thank you for the great explanations. I am ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Angular momentum with respect to the centre of mass

I have been told [Warning: I leave this because it's what I asked and allows to understand the dialogues in the comments, but Azad, whom I thank, has pointed that the formula does not hold in general ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Huge buildings affect Earth's rotation?

Does constructing huge buildings affect the rotation of the Earth, similar to skater whose angular rotation increases when her arms are closed comparatively than open?
1
vote
1answer
759 views

Toppling of a cylinder on a block

A uniform cylinder rests on a cart.The height and diameter is given.coefficient of static friction is given.How can i find the minimum acceleration of block such that the block topples? Morever what ...
15
votes
8answers
7k views

What is the electric field generated by a spinning magnet?

Consider a cylinder of permanently magnetized material, with uniform magnetization pointing along the cylindrical symmetry axis (the $z$-direction). The magnet is rotating about its cylindrical ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Ice skater increase of energy

This may be a very basic question but I am not seeing how it works. Consider the standard example of an ice skate rotating about his/her center of mass and pulling in his/her arms. The torque is zero ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Is squared motor gearbox ratio proportional to inertia ratio?

I read an interesting article http://m.machinedesign.com/news/motor-sizing-made-easy It is very interesting, but I can not follow the 2nd last paragraph. I don't understand why it is true. ...
16
votes
10answers
31k views

What do people actually mean by “rolling without slipping”?

I have never understood what's the meaning of the sentence "rolling without slipping". Let me explain. I'll give an example. Yesterday my mechanics professor introduced some concepts of rotational ...
7
votes
4answers
488 views

Earth's Kinetic energy change

Earth's rotational speed varies. I have checked the data an found following Peaks; Year 1998, 23.May, the Earth rotated in 86400.0023738 seconds. At 9.July the rotation time of the Earth was 86400....
7
votes
3answers
504 views

What is the origin of spin of celestial objects?

In an older question from June 2011, Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?, apparently revived by the system, a user is asking about the origin of the rotation of celestial bodies. The ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why does a car engine not do work if the wheels don't slip?

I saw this mind boggling result that if the tires don't slip then the work done by an engine to move a car is zero. Why is this true? Moreover, what does this truly mean? Update: Sorry about not ...
5
votes
3answers
887 views

How can I relate linear and angular motion using a single formula?

I want to relate linear and angular motion using a single formula. Assume I have a 10m rod, and I apply a force of 5N on it, 2.5m away from the axis of rotation for 1s. How can I determine the ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Hamiltonian is conserved, but is not the total mechanical energy

I wondering about the interpretation for the energy difference between the Hamiltonian and the total mechanical energy for systems where the Hamiltonian is conserved, but it is not equal to the total ...
8
votes
2answers
648 views

rotational oblateness

I am trying to compute the amount of oblateness that is caused by planetary rotation. I picture the force of gravity added to the centrifugal force caused by the rotation of the planet as follows: $\...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

Which force makes a wheel roll down the hill? What causes friction?

A wheel rolling down a hill has two axis of rotation. One is where the center or mass is and the other is the point of contact with the surface which acts as a fulcrum. I was trying to understand how ...
1
vote
4answers
295 views

Centre of instantaneous rotation problem

Is there a point of Centre of Instantaneous Rotation (CIR) for every type of motion or only for cases of rolling?
1
vote
1answer
131 views

How to compute the inertia tensor ${\bf{J}} _{\Omega}$ of a body of revolution

Suppose that $\Omega$ is a body of revolution of the function $y=f(x), a\le x \le b$ around the $x$-axis, where $f(x)>0$ is continuous. How to compute the inertia tensor ${\bf{J}} _{\Omega}$? ...
4
votes
2answers
176 views

Can a Storm make the day longer/shorter?

I've read that changes in jet streams can affect the speed that the Earth rotates on its axis, thus making the day longer or shorter?
1
vote
3answers
514 views

Will an object resting on a rotating platform move in a frictionless world?

Imagine that a pebble is placed on a uniformly rotating, frictionless disk. What will happen to this pebble? Will the disk slide under it and the pebble stay as is? Or will there be a centrifugal ...
51
votes
8answers
26k views

Proof that the Earth rotates?

What is the proof, without leaving the Earth, and involving only basic physics, that the earth rotates around its axis? By basic physics I mean the physics that the early physicists must've used to ...
34
votes
4answers
2k views

Intuition as to why the orientation (of a 3D object) is not a conserved quantity?

Say you start off floating in space, in a fixed position and orientation, with zero linear and angular velocity, with no external forces. So you are a closed mechanical system. By twisting your body ...
25
votes
9answers
6k views

Physical meaning of the angular momentum

Still reading Classical Mechanics by Goldstein, I'm struggling on a very basic notion: angular momentum. I physically understand it as the momentum of an object rotating around something given a ...
7
votes
3answers
531 views

Moment of Inertia, why $r^2$and not $r$?

So my engineering mechanics book includes a brief discussion on area moments of inertia. Unfortunately, the ensuing chapter is predominately computational in nature. I don't have a thorough grasp of ...