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

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38
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
43
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
37
votes
8answers
8k 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?
31
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does this object periodically turn itself?

See this video about 30 sec in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL6Pt1O_gSE Is this a real effect? Why does it seem to turn periodically? Can it be explained by classical mechanics alone? Is there a ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...
22
votes
4answers
16k 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
8k 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 ...
52
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
832 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?
11
votes
2answers
629 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
2k 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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'}, ...
7
votes
5answers
20k 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.
12
votes
9answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Why does Venus rotate the opposite direction as other planets?

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 ...
7
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
205 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 ...
45
votes
11answers
11k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
946 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?
14
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
462 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
659 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 of ...
15
votes
8answers
6k 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
882 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
1answer
2k 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. ...
7
votes
3answers
352 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
693 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
3answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
279 views

Top angular speed of electric motor

I recently came across a question asking the following: If a motor is switched on, it quickly reaches a top speed. Why does it not just go faster and faster and faster? I thought it might be ...
1
vote
1answer
101 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 ${\bf{J}} _{\Omega}$? ...
2
votes
2answers
328 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 = ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Is angular momentum always conserved in the absence of an external torque?

Consider either the angular momentum of the earth around the sun or equivalently swinging a ball horizontally on a string. I know that with respect to the point of rotation of the swinging ball, ...
0
votes
3answers
348 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 ...
32
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 ...
22
votes
9answers
4k 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 ...
13
votes
10answers
19k 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 ...
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
435 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 ...
6
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
317 views

Does a tire need to slip to generate force?

Recently, I have been doing some research on racing and tire modelling. While I was doing this, I encountered many curves like those shown below. While I understand the need of slip angles to ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

Static as opposed to Kinetic Friction in Rolling Motion

During analysis of rolling motion, why do we consider coefficient of friction as that of static friction and not kinetic friction?
2
votes
5answers
391 views

Is this expression for the kinetic energy of a spinning disk revolving about a second axis correct?

My question is motivated from a question from another user. You can see the configuration of the rotating system here: One disk/ring in double rotation and sum of energy. I am not interested in all ...
1
vote
1answer
203 views

What prevents this rotational perpetuum mobile from working? [closed]

As a newbie in physics I imagine this device and I would like to know why it can't increase its energy. Note I study the sum of energy during one second (or less) after set friction ON. The device: ...
4
votes
3answers
219 views

What is an intuitive explanation using forces for the equatorial bulge?

The earth is not a sphere, because it bulges at the equator. I tried fiddling with centripetal force equations and gravity, but I couldn't derive why this bulge occurs. Is there (a) a ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
449 views

Foucault pendulum

The equations of motions for a Foucault pendulum are given by: $$\ddot{x} = 2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{y} - \frac{g}{L}x,$$ $$\ddot{y} = -2\omega \sin\lambda \dot{x} - \frac{g}{L}y.$$ What are the ...