24. Angular Momentum

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Learning Objectives

  • Be able to calculate the vector product of two vectors using unit vectors associated with both a Cartesian coordinate system and a cylindrical coordinate system.
  • Describe the meaning of the terms that appear in the definition of angular momentum about a point.
  • Be able to calculate the angular momentum about a point for a particle undergoing linear motion or circular motion using vectors and the relation between change in angular momentum and torque for 2-dimensional rotation.
  • Recognize why the angular momentum of a symmetric body rotating about the symmetry axis points along the axis of rotation.
  • Explain why the component of the angular momentum of a rigid body rotating about a fixed axis (z-axis) is Lz = z.
  • Explain why τs = dLs / dt is a consequence of Newton’s 2nd Law.


Course Notes

This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Notes: Angular Momentum of a Point Particle (PDF - 2.1MB)

Suggested Textbook Reading (Optional)

Buy at Amazon Chapter 10.5. Young, Hugh D., Roger A. Freedman, and A. Lewis Ford. Sears and Zemansky's University Physics: with Modern Physics. 12th ed. San Francisco, CA: Addison-Wesley, 2007. ISBN: 9780805321876.

Lecture Video

Video Excerpts

Watch the following excerpts from the Physics I lecture videos:

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Download the complete lectures from this course:

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Learning Activities

Guided Activities

Read through the class slides carefully. They explain all of the concepts from the module.

Slides: Angular Momentum (PDF - 1.3MB)


Do the Concept Questions first to make sure you understand the main concepts from this module. Then, when you are ready, try the Challenge Problems. If you are struggling with the Challenge Problems, watch the Homework Help Session videos, which will give you tips on how to tackle problems of this type.

Concept Questions

Concept Questions (PDF)

Solutions (PDF)

Challenge Problems

Challenge Problems (PDF)

Solutions (PDF)

Problem Solving Help

In the following videos Prof. Walter Lewin explains how to approach the Challenge Problems.

Help Session

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Related Resources

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