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Physics I

Class 16

Angular Momentum

Angular Momentum of a Particle


We found a rotational analog to all linear
variables so far, so lets look for an
analog of momentum.
Expectations:
1) vector describing rotation
2) proportional to mass
3) proportional to angular velocity
4) conservation law

p mv

Angular Momentum Defined


Lets start with a free
particle moving in a straight
line past an arbitrary point.
Place the origin of a coordinate
system at the point.
The direction of the angular
momentum indicates the type of
rotation (clockwise,
counterclockwise, etc.)

center of rotation (defined)

p mv
Angular momentum of a
particle:

rp

Angular Momentum Conservation


(0,0)

r1

r2

Compare the motion of a free particle at


two different times. The angular
momentum always points out of the page
and the magnitude is constant:


| 1 || r1 p | r1 p


| 2 || r2 p | r2 p sin r2 p cos

| 2 | (r2 cos ) p r1 p

Therefore 1 2 (Angular Momentum Conservation)

Angular Momentum of an Object


For a solid object rotating about a fixed axis, each particle (atom)

:
has angular
momentum
in
the
direction
of

i ri pi ri (mi vi )
Changing to rotational variables, the magnitude is,



| i | | ri || pi |sin mi | ri || vi | mi ri ri mi ri 2
so

i mi ri 2
Summing these gives the angular momentum of the rotating object:

i mi ri 2 I

Equation of Motion

To see the time dependence of , take the time derivative:

d d dr d p
(r p)
p r
dt dt
dt
dt
Find each term separately:

dr
(Why?)
p v p 0
dt

dp

(Torque is more useful


r
r Fnet net
dt
for rigid objects.)
This gives,

(Newtons 2nd Law in angular form.)


net
dt

Angular Momentum Conservation


If there are no external torques, the angular momentum of a
system of particles is also conserved if we put the origin at the
center-of-mass.
Also, for a rigid object rotating about a fixed axis with
no external torques,

net
0
dt
so,

constant

Angular Momentum in Collisions


Two rotating objects that interact exert a torque on each other.

d 1

on 1 from 2 ext on 1 ;
dt

For the system, 1 2 , so,

d 2
on 2
dt

d d 1 d 2

ext on 1 ext on 2
dt
dt
dt
If there are no external torques, then

d
0
dt

from 1
ext on 2

(Why?)

Example 1
An ice skater spins at 6 rad/sec with out-stretched hands. Her
rotational inertia is 1.5 kg m2. She then pulls her arms in,
thereby changing her rotational inertial to 1.2 kg m2. What is
her angular speed now?

No external torque, so remains constant,

I before before I after after

after

I before before
I after

1.5 6

7.5 rad/sec
1.2

Example 2
A wheel spins on a frictionless shaft with an angular speed of 30
rad/sec. A second wheel, initially at rest, is suddenly coupled to
the first wheel. The second wheel has twice the rotational inertia
of the first. What is the angular speed of the system?

No external torque, so remains constant and,

I1 before I1 after I 2 after

after

I1 before
I1 I 2

I1 before

1 30

10 rad/sec
3
I1 2 I1

Take-Away Concepts

1. Angular momentum of a particle: r p .


2. r F

where r denotes point of contact.

3. Newtons 2nd Law for angular momentum:

d
net
dt
4. Conservation of angular momentum (no ext. torque):

d
0
dt