I read an example where someone was explaining how the law of conservation of energy does not have to be maintained within a rotating mass even though angular momentum is maintained. The given example is an ice skater who spins faster as she brings her arms inward. The energy used bringing her arms inward gets transferred to her total rotational energy. Therefore, her total rotational energy increases while angular momentum was maintained.
My question is about the opposite movement. Assume you have a weight positioned on a rotating wheel and the weight is held in place by a lock on a radial slide. Now assume the wheel is rotating in motion. If you unlock the weight (via electronic control for example), the weight will move outwardly toward the perimeter of the wheel due to its own inertia (centrifuge effect). When this occurs, does the kinetic energy of the wheel decrease?
I actually performed an experiment of this very thing, and my crude setup seemed to confirm that the available energy in the wheel DOES indeed decrease. If this complies with the mathematical laws, can someone please confirm and explain where the energy goes? It's certainly not being lost to vibration or heat. How is the energy in the wheel decreasing simply because the weight travels outward to the perimeter?