Angular Momentum and Torque

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Session Overview

Photograph of people on a ride with a round central structure with swings hanging down from it and with the central structure spinning quickly enough for the people on the swings to feel a force away from the center of the ride.

Covered this week:
Week 3 continues with more difficult examples of the computation of velocity and acceleration in translating and rotating frames. Angular momentum is introduced and the general formulation of the relation between torque and the time rate of change of angular momentum is introduced, including cases where the angular momentum is computed with respect to moving parts. Two very important cases are discussed: torque and angular momentum with respect to fixed axes of rotation and with respect to the center of mass.

The principles presented this week explain why the passengers on this swing ride feel an upward lift as the central structure whirls. Image courtesy of Hillbraith 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

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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