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Angular Momentum (Y 50)


Keyword: Mechanics Lab

Demonstration Description:
In this experiment you investigate rotational collisions and the conservation of angular momentum in rigid body rotational dynamics. It is the rotary counterpart of linear collisions.
The heart of the experiment is a high quality DC motor to spin a rotor up to several hundred radians per second. When power to the motor is shut off, it serves as a tachometer-generator whose output voltage is proportional to the angular velocity of the rotor; thus the angular velocity of the rotor can be determined by measuring the output voltage. When you hold down the red pushbutton switch on the apparatus, power is applied to the motor; when you release it, the rotor coasts and the output voltage the motor generates can be read by the computer. This experiment will give you experience in

  • measuring and calculating moments of inertia,
  • calculating rotational kinetic energy and non-conservative rotational work, and
  • using several other concepts from our study of rotational dynamics (including the conservation of angular momentum, conservation of rotational kinetic energy and the kinetics of rotational motion when the angular acceleration is constant) to deduce quantities that you cannot measure directly.


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