Angular Momentum and Motion of Rotating Rigid Bodies

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Session Overview

An infant on hands and knees reaches out an exploratory hand toward a large toy spinning top in motion on the floor in front of it.

Covered this week:
Week 6 addresses the angular momentum of rigid bodies. First we examine the moment of inertia of a rigid body and use it to express the angular momentum of rigid bodies. We then address finding the equations of motion for rotating rigid bodies and discuss problem solving strategies. We break down typical problems into four different classes and present example problems for each class of problems. Finally, we introduce a more powerful formulation of the torque equation for rigid bodies.

Spinning tops are an example of a rotating rigid body often used as a children’s toy. Image courtesy of Sean Dreilinger on Flickr.


Problems and Concept Questions

Each problem set has concept questions paired with most problems. Answers to the concept questions are handed in before the overall problem set is due. You should therefore answer the concept questions in each problem set while watching the video lectures for the week. Then, use the Concept Question Answer Key (below in the Check Yourself section) to check your work before continuing to work on the problem set.

Please note that if your answer to the concept question is incorrect, it is likely that you may start down an unproductive pathway to a solution. Try to fully understand the answer to the concept question before you begin the regular problem.


Lecture Videos

Recitation Video and Notes

Check Yourself

Concept Question Answer Key and Problem Set Solutions

The solutions are presented in two files, one with the answers to the concept questions, and one with solutions and in-depth explanations for the problems. Work the problems on your own and check your answers when you're done.


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