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

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32
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
41
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
1k 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 ...
31
votes
8answers
6k 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?
1
vote
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. ...
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 ...
18
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
490 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
13k 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.
45
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k 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
8answers
6k 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
4k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
427 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
1answer
701 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?
7
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
692 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 ...
43
votes
11answers
8k 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
705 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
2k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
2k 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
1answer
1k 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
183 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
6k 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
3answers
248 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 ...
21
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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
6answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
334 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
7k 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
326 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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
384 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
62k views

Linear acceleration vs angular acceleration equation

I'm learning about angular velocity, momentum, etc. and how all the equations are parallel to linear equations such as velocity or momentum. However, I'm having trouble comparing angular acceleration ...
2
votes
1answer
3k 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, ...
1
vote
3answers
104 views

Distinction between torque and force

Distinction between Torque and Force. Consider a case when a cylinder is rolling down a rough inclined plane. While analysing its motion, we consider the force applied by the friction and the ...
1
vote
2answers
573 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

Would a light or a heavy ball roll fastest down a slope?

A small, light ball and a larger, heavier ball are released from the top of a slope. Which will move further? which will come down faster?
48
votes
8answers
13k 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 ...
32
votes
4answers
3k views

How can earthquakes shift the earth's axis?

One often comes across news articles that claim that an earthquake shifted the earth's axis. http://news.google.com/?q=earthquake%20shifted%20OR%20shifts%20earth%27s%20axis If you ignore the ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

A rope attaches the Moon to the Earth. What happens?

Consider the Earth (mass $M$, radius $R$, rotating about its own axis at $\Omega$) and the moon (mass $m$, radius $r$, with axial rotation equal to $\omega_m$), whose centre of masses are $d$ apart. ...
8
votes
7answers
12k 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

What determines the angle of the cushion on a pool table?

If you look at the cushions (bumpers) on a pool table, you'll see that they're not vertical. They're tilted inwards. About 10 years ago, I came across a physics exam in which one of the problems ...
8
votes
3answers
628 views

Where does the kinetic energy go?

A uniform cylinder was placed on a frictionless bearing and set to rotate about its vertical axis. After a cylinder has reached a specific state of rotation it is heated without any mechanical support ...
8
votes
2answers
346 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: ...
5
votes
1answer
305 views

Elementary derivation of the motion equations for an inverted pendulum on a cart

Consider a cart of mass $M$ constrained to move on the horizontal axis. A massless rod is attached to the midpoint of the cart, having a mass $m$ on its endpoint. See wikipedia for a picture and for a ...
4
votes
2answers
293 views

Thrust center in space

I have this dilemma: Suppose you have a space ship somewhere in deep space, where there is no drag force or substantial gravity. If the ship has a single engine situated in such a way that the center ...
2
votes
0answers
2k views

Forces and torques about the CENTER OF MASS of a physical pendulum

I'm currently stumped by the following situation. Say we've got a rectangular physical pendulum (think ruler with a hole-punch at one end). It's trivial to analyze the motion of the pendulum with the ...