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College Physics for AP® Courses

10.5 Angular Momentum and Its Conservation

College Physics for AP® Courses10.5 Angular Momentum and Its Conservation
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction: The Nature of Science and Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 1.1 Physics: An Introduction
    3. 1.2 Physical Quantities and Units
    4. 1.3 Accuracy, Precision, and Significant Figures
    5. 1.4 Approximation
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
  3. 2 Kinematics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 2.1 Displacement
    3. 2.2 Vectors, Scalars, and Coordinate Systems
    4. 2.3 Time, Velocity, and Speed
    5. 2.4 Acceleration
    6. 2.5 Motion Equations for Constant Acceleration in One Dimension
    7. 2.6 Problem-Solving Basics for One Dimensional Kinematics
    8. 2.7 Falling Objects
    9. 2.8 Graphical Analysis of One Dimensional Motion
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  4. 3 Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 3.1 Kinematics in Two Dimensions: An Introduction
    3. 3.2 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Graphical Methods
    4. 3.3 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods
    5. 3.4 Projectile Motion
    6. 3.5 Addition of Velocities
    7. Glossary
    8. Section Summary
    9. Conceptual Questions
    10. Problems & Exercises
    11. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  5. 4 Dynamics: Force and Newton's Laws of Motion
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 4.1 Development of Force Concept
    3. 4.2 Newton's First Law of Motion: Inertia
    4. 4.3 Newton's Second Law of Motion: Concept of a System
    5. 4.4 Newton's Third Law of Motion: Symmetry in Forces
    6. 4.5 Normal, Tension, and Other Examples of Force
    7. 4.6 Problem-Solving Strategies
    8. 4.7 Further Applications of Newton's Laws of Motion
    9. 4.8 Extended Topic: The Four Basic Forces—An Introduction
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  6. 5 Further Applications of Newton's Laws: Friction, Drag, and Elasticity
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 5.1 Friction
    3. 5.2 Drag Forces
    4. 5.3 Elasticity: Stress and Strain
    5. Glossary
    6. Section Summary
    7. Conceptual Questions
    8. Problems & Exercises
    9. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  7. 6 Gravitation and Uniform Circular Motion
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 6.1 Rotation Angle and Angular Velocity
    3. 6.2 Centripetal Acceleration
    4. 6.3 Centripetal Force
    5. 6.4 Fictitious Forces and Non-inertial Frames: The Coriolis Force
    6. 6.5 Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation
    7. 6.6 Satellites and Kepler's Laws: An Argument for Simplicity
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  8. 7 Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 7.1 Work: The Scientific Definition
    3. 7.2 Kinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem
    4. 7.3 Gravitational Potential Energy
    5. 7.4 Conservative Forces and Potential Energy
    6. 7.5 Nonconservative Forces
    7. 7.6 Conservation of Energy
    8. 7.7 Power
    9. 7.8 Work, Energy, and Power in Humans
    10. 7.9 World Energy Use
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  9. 8 Linear Momentum and Collisions
    1. Connection for AP® courses
    2. 8.1 Linear Momentum and Force
    3. 8.2 Impulse
    4. 8.3 Conservation of Momentum
    5. 8.4 Elastic Collisions in One Dimension
    6. 8.5 Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension
    7. 8.6 Collisions of Point Masses in Two Dimensions
    8. 8.7 Introduction to Rocket Propulsion
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  10. 9 Statics and Torque
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 9.1 The First Condition for Equilibrium
    3. 9.2 The Second Condition for Equilibrium
    4. 9.3 Stability
    5. 9.4 Applications of Statics, Including Problem-Solving Strategies
    6. 9.5 Simple Machines
    7. 9.6 Forces and Torques in Muscles and Joints
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  11. 10 Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 10.1 Angular Acceleration
    3. 10.2 Kinematics of Rotational Motion
    4. 10.3 Dynamics of Rotational Motion: Rotational Inertia
    5. 10.4 Rotational Kinetic Energy: Work and Energy Revisited
    6. 10.5 Angular Momentum and Its Conservation
    7. 10.6 Collisions of Extended Bodies in Two Dimensions
    8. 10.7 Gyroscopic Effects: Vector Aspects of Angular Momentum
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  12. 11 Fluid Statics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 11.1 What Is a Fluid?
    3. 11.2 Density
    4. 11.3 Pressure
    5. 11.4 Variation of Pressure with Depth in a Fluid
    6. 11.5 Pascal’s Principle
    7. 11.6 Gauge Pressure, Absolute Pressure, and Pressure Measurement
    8. 11.7 Archimedes’ Principle
    9. 11.8 Cohesion and Adhesion in Liquids: Surface Tension and Capillary Action
    10. 11.9 Pressures in the Body
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  13. 12 Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 12.1 Flow Rate and Its Relation to Velocity
    3. 12.2 Bernoulli’s Equation
    4. 12.3 The Most General Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation
    5. 12.4 Viscosity and Laminar Flow; Poiseuille’s Law
    6. 12.5 The Onset of Turbulence
    7. 12.6 Motion of an Object in a Viscous Fluid
    8. 12.7 Molecular Transport Phenomena: Diffusion, Osmosis, and Related Processes
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  14. 13 Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 13.1 Temperature
    3. 13.2 Thermal Expansion of Solids and Liquids
    4. 13.3 The Ideal Gas Law
    5. 13.4 Kinetic Theory: Atomic and Molecular Explanation of Pressure and Temperature
    6. 13.5 Phase Changes
    7. 13.6 Humidity, Evaporation, and Boiling
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  15. 14 Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 14.1 Heat
    3. 14.2 Temperature Change and Heat Capacity
    4. 14.3 Phase Change and Latent Heat
    5. 14.4 Heat Transfer Methods
    6. 14.5 Conduction
    7. 14.6 Convection
    8. 14.7 Radiation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  16. 15 Thermodynamics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 15.1 The First Law of Thermodynamics
    3. 15.2 The First Law of Thermodynamics and Some Simple Processes
    4. 15.3 Introduction to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat Engines and Their Efficiency
    5. 15.4 Carnot’s Perfect Heat Engine: The Second Law of Thermodynamics Restated
    6. 15.5 Applications of Thermodynamics: Heat Pumps and Refrigerators
    7. 15.6 Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Disorder and the Unavailability of Energy
    8. 15.7 Statistical Interpretation of Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The Underlying Explanation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  17. 16 Oscillatory Motion and Waves
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 16.1 Hooke’s Law: Stress and Strain Revisited
    3. 16.2 Period and Frequency in Oscillations
    4. 16.3 Simple Harmonic Motion: A Special Periodic Motion
    5. 16.4 The Simple Pendulum
    6. 16.5 Energy and the Simple Harmonic Oscillator
    7. 16.6 Uniform Circular Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion
    8. 16.7 Damped Harmonic Motion
    9. 16.8 Forced Oscillations and Resonance
    10. 16.9 Waves
    11. 16.10 Superposition and Interference
    12. 16.11 Energy in Waves: Intensity
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
    17. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  18. 17 Physics of Hearing
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 17.1 Sound
    3. 17.2 Speed of Sound, Frequency, and Wavelength
    4. 17.3 Sound Intensity and Sound Level
    5. 17.4 Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms
    6. 17.5 Sound Interference and Resonance: Standing Waves in Air Columns
    7. 17.6 Hearing
    8. 17.7 Ultrasound
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  19. 18 Electric Charge and Electric Field
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 18.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge
    3. 18.2 Conductors and Insulators
    4. 18.3 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium
    5. 18.4 Coulomb’s Law
    6. 18.5 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited
    7. 18.6 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges
    8. 18.7 Electric Forces in Biology
    9. 18.8 Applications of Electrostatics
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  20. 19 Electric Potential and Electric Field
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 19.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
    3. 19.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field
    4. 19.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge
    5. 19.4 Equipotential Lines
    6. 19.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics
    7. 19.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel
    8. 19.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  21. 20 Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 20.1 Current
    3. 20.2 Ohm’s Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits
    4. 20.3 Resistance and Resistivity
    5. 20.4 Electric Power and Energy
    6. 20.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current
    7. 20.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body
    8. 20.7 Nerve Conduction–Electrocardiograms
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  22. 21 Circuits, Bioelectricity, and DC Instruments
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 21.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel
    3. 21.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage
    4. 21.3 Kirchhoff’s Rules
    5. 21.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters
    6. 21.5 Null Measurements
    7. 21.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  23. 22 Magnetism
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 22.1 Magnets
    3. 22.2 Ferromagnets and Electromagnets
    4. 22.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines
    5. 22.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field
    6. 22.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications
    7. 22.6 The Hall Effect
    8. 22.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor
    9. 22.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters
    10. 22.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Ampere’s Law
    11. 22.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors
    12. 22.11 More Applications of Magnetism
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
    17. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  24. 23 Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits, and Electrical Technologies
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 23.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
    3. 23.2 Faraday’s Law of Induction: Lenz’s Law
    4. 23.3 Motional Emf
    5. 23.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping
    6. 23.5 Electric Generators
    7. 23.6 Back Emf
    8. 23.7 Transformers
    9. 23.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices
    10. 23.9 Inductance
    11. 23.10 RL Circuits
    12. 23.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive
    13. 23.12 RLC Series AC Circuits
    14. Glossary
    15. Section Summary
    16. Conceptual Questions
    17. Problems & Exercises
    18. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  25. 24 Electromagnetic Waves
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 24.1 Maxwell’s Equations: Electromagnetic Waves Predicted and Observed
    3. 24.2 Production of Electromagnetic Waves
    4. 24.3 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 24.4 Energy in Electromagnetic Waves
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
    10. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  26. 25 Geometric Optics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 25.1 The Ray Aspect of Light
    3. 25.2 The Law of Reflection
    4. 25.3 The Law of Refraction
    5. 25.4 Total Internal Reflection
    6. 25.5 Dispersion: The Rainbow and Prisms
    7. 25.6 Image Formation by Lenses
    8. 25.7 Image Formation by Mirrors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  27. 26 Vision and Optical Instruments
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 26.1 Physics of the Eye
    3. 26.2 Vision Correction
    4. 26.3 Color and Color Vision
    5. 26.4 Microscopes
    6. 26.5 Telescopes
    7. 26.6 Aberrations
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  28. 27 Wave Optics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 27.1 The Wave Aspect of Light: Interference
    3. 27.2 Huygens's Principle: Diffraction
    4. 27.3 Young’s Double Slit Experiment
    5. 27.4 Multiple Slit Diffraction
    6. 27.5 Single Slit Diffraction
    7. 27.6 Limits of Resolution: The Rayleigh Criterion
    8. 27.7 Thin Film Interference
    9. 27.8 Polarization
    10. 27.9 *Extended Topic* Microscopy Enhanced by the Wave Characteristics of Light
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  29. 28 Special Relativity
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 28.1 Einstein’s Postulates
    3. 28.2 Simultaneity And Time Dilation
    4. 28.3 Length Contraction
    5. 28.4 Relativistic Addition of Velocities
    6. 28.5 Relativistic Momentum
    7. 28.6 Relativistic Energy
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  30. 29 Introduction to Quantum Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 29.1 Quantization of Energy
    3. 29.2 The Photoelectric Effect
    4. 29.3 Photon Energies and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 29.4 Photon Momentum
    6. 29.5 The Particle-Wave Duality
    7. 29.6 The Wave Nature of Matter
    8. 29.7 Probability: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
    9. 29.8 The Particle-Wave Duality Reviewed
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  31. 30 Atomic Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 30.1 Discovery of the Atom
    3. 30.2 Discovery of the Parts of the Atom: Electrons and Nuclei
    4. 30.3 Bohr’s Theory of the Hydrogen Atom
    5. 30.4 X Rays: Atomic Origins and Applications
    6. 30.5 Applications of Atomic Excitations and De-Excitations
    7. 30.6 The Wave Nature of Matter Causes Quantization
    8. 30.7 Patterns in Spectra Reveal More Quantization
    9. 30.8 Quantum Numbers and Rules
    10. 30.9 The Pauli Exclusion Principle
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  32. 31 Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 31.1 Nuclear Radioactivity
    3. 31.2 Radiation Detection and Detectors
    4. 31.3 Substructure of the Nucleus
    5. 31.4 Nuclear Decay and Conservation Laws
    6. 31.5 Half-Life and Activity
    7. 31.6 Binding Energy
    8. 31.7 Tunneling
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  33. 32 Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 32.1 Medical Imaging and Diagnostics
    3. 32.2 Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation
    4. 32.3 Therapeutic Uses of Ionizing Radiation
    5. 32.4 Food Irradiation
    6. 32.5 Fusion
    7. 32.6 Fission
    8. 32.7 Nuclear Weapons
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  34. 33 Particle Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 33.1 The Yukawa Particle and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Revisited
    3. 33.2 The Four Basic Forces
    4. 33.3 Accelerators Create Matter from Energy
    5. 33.4 Particles, Patterns, and Conservation Laws
    6. 33.5 Quarks: Is That All There Is?
    7. 33.6 GUTs: The Unification of Forces
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  35. 34 Frontiers of Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 34.1 Cosmology and Particle Physics
    3. 34.2 General Relativity and Quantum Gravity
    4. 34.3 Superstrings
    5. 34.4 Dark Matter and Closure
    6. 34.5 Complexity and Chaos
    7. 34.6 High-Temperature Superconductors
    8. 34.7 Some Questions We Know to Ask
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  36. A | Atomic Masses
  37. B | Selected Radioactive Isotopes
  38. C | Useful Information
  39. D | Glossary of Key Symbols and Notation
  40. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
    17. Chapter 17
    18. Chapter 18
    19. Chapter 19
    20. Chapter 20
    21. Chapter 21
    22. Chapter 22
    23. Chapter 23
    24. Chapter 24
    25. Chapter 25
    26. Chapter 26
    27. Chapter 27
    28. Chapter 28
    29. Chapter 29
    30. Chapter 30
    31. Chapter 31
    32. Chapter 32
    33. Chapter 33
    34. Chapter 34
  41. Index

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Understand the analogy between angular momentum and linear momentum.
  • Observe the relationship between torque and angular momentum.
  • Apply the law of conservation of angular momentum.

The information presented in this section supports the following AP® learning objectives and science practices:

  • 4.D.2.1 The student is able to describe a model of a rotational system and use that model to analyze a situation in which angular momentum changes due to interaction with other objects or systems. (S.P. 1.2, 1.4)
  • 4.D.2.2 The student is able to plan a data collection and analysis strategy to determine the change in angular momentum of a system and relate it to interactions with other objects and systems. (S.P. 2.2)
  • 4.D.3.1 The student is able to use appropriate mathematical routines to calculate values for initial or final angular momentum, or change in angular momentum of a system, or average torque or time during which the torque is exerted in analyzing a situation involving torque and angular momentum. (S.P. 2.2)
  • 4.D.3.2 The student is able to plan a data collection strategy designed to test the relationship between the change in angular momentum of a system and the product of the average torque applied to the system and the time interval during which the torque is exerted. (S.P. 4.1, 4.2)
  • 5.E.1.1 The student is able to make qualitative predictions about the angular momentum of a system for a situation in which there is no net external torque. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)
  • 5.E.1.2 The student is able to make calculations of quantities related to the angular momentum of a system when the net external torque on the system is zero. (S.P. 2.1, 2.2)
  • 5.E.2.1 The student is able to describe or calculate the angular momentum and rotational inertia of a system in terms of the locations and velocities of objects that make up the system. Students are expected to do qualitative reasoning with compound objects. Students are expected to do calculations with a fixed set of extended objects and point masses. (S.P. 2.2)

Why does Earth keep on spinning? What started it spinning to begin with? And how does an ice skater manage to spin faster and faster simply by pulling her arms in? Why does she not have to exert a torque to spin faster? Questions like these have answers based in angular momentum, the rotational analog to linear momentum.

By now the pattern is clear—every rotational phenomenon has a direct translational analog. It seems quite reasonable, then, to define angular momentum LL size 12{L} {} as

L=.L=. size 12{L=Iω} {}
10.88

This equation is an analog to the definition of linear momentum as p=mvp=mv size 12{p= ital "mv"} {}. Units for linear momentum are kgm/skgm/s size 12{"kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } "/s"} {} while units for angular momentum are kgm2/skgm2/s size 12{"kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } "/s"} {}. As we would expect, an object that has a large moment of inertia II size 12{I} {}, such as Earth, has a very large angular momentum. An object that has a large angular velocity ωω size 12{ω} {}, such as a centrifuge, also has a rather large angular momentum.

Making Connections

Angular momentum is completely analogous to linear momentum, first presented in Uniform Circular Motion and Gravitation. It has the same implications in terms of carrying rotation forward, and it is conserved when the net external torque is zero. Angular momentum, like linear momentum, is also a property of the atoms and subatomic particles.

Example 10.11 Calculating Angular Momentum of the Earth

Strategy

No information is given in the statement of the problem; so we must look up pertinent data before we can calculate L=L= size 12{L=Iω} {}. First, according to Figure 10.12, the formula for the moment of inertia of a sphere is

I = 2 MR 2 5 I = 2 MR 2 5 size 12{I= { {2 ital "MR" rSup { size 8{2} } } over {5} } } {}
10.89

so that

L = = 2 MR 2 ω 5 . L = = 2 MR 2 ω 5 . size 12{L=Iω= { {2 ital "MR" rSup { size 8{2} } ω} over {5} } } {}
10.90

Earth's mass MM size 12{M} {} is 5.979×1024 kg5.979×1024 kg size 12{5 "." "979" times "10" rSup { size 8{"24"} } "kg"} {} and its radius RR size 12{R} {} is 6.376×106m6.376×106m size 12{6 "." "376" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } m} {}. Earth experiences, of course, exactly one revolution per day, but we must express ωω size 12{ω} {} in radians per second to do the calculation in SI units.

Solution

Substituting known information into the expression for LL size 12{L} {} and converting ωω size 12{ω} {} to radians per second gives

L = 0.45.979×1024kg6.376×106 m21revd = 9.72×1037kgm2rev/d.L = 0.45.979×1024kg6.376×106 m21revd = 9.72×1037kgm2rev/d.alignl { stack { size 12{L=0 "." 4 left (5 "." "979" times "10" rSup { size 8{"24"} } " kg" right ) left (6 "." "376" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } " m" right ) rSup { size 8{2} } left ( { {1" rev"} over {d} } right )} {} # " "=9 "." "72" times "10" rSup { size 8{"37"} } " kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } "rev/d" {} } } {}
10.91

Substituting size 12{2π} {} rad for 11 size 12{1} {} rev and 8.64×104s8.64×104s size 12{8 "." "64" times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } s} {} for 1 day gives

L = 9.72×1037kgm2 rad/rev8.64×104 s/d1 rev/d = 7.07×1033 kgm2/s. L = 9.72×1037kgm2 rad/rev8.64×104 s/d1 rev/d = 7.07×1033 kgm2/s.alignl { stack { size 12{L= left (9 "." "72" times "10" rSup { size 8{"37"} } " kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } right ) left ( { {2π" rad/rev"} over {8 "." "64" times "10" rSup { size 8{4} } " s/d"} } right ) left (1" rev/d" right )} {} # " "=7 "." "07" times "10" rSup { size 8{"33"} } " kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } "/s" {} } } {}
10.92

Discussion

This number is large, demonstrating that Earth, as expected, has a tremendous angular momentum. The answer is approximate, because we have assumed a constant density for Earth in order to estimate its moment of inertia.

When you push a merry-go-round, spin a bike wheel, or open a door, you exert a torque. If the torque you exert is greater than opposing torques, then the rotation accelerates, and angular momentum increases. The greater the net torque, the more rapid the increase in LL size 12{L} {}. The relationship between torque and angular momentum is

net τ=ΔLΔt.net τ=ΔLΔt. size 12{"net "τ= { {ΔL} over {Δt} } } {}
10.93

This expression is exactly analogous to the relationship between force and linear momentum, F=Δp/ΔtF=Δp/Δt size 12{F=Δp/Δt} {}. The equation net τ=ΔLΔtnet τ=ΔLΔt size 12{"net "τ= { {ΔL} over {Δt} } } {} is very fundamental and broadly applicable. It is, in fact, the rotational form of Newton's second law.

Example 10.12 Calculating the Torque Putting Angular Momentum Into a Lazy Susan

Figure 10.21 shows a Lazy Susan food tray being rotated by a person in quest of sustenance. Suppose the person exerts a 2.50 N force perpendicular to the lazy Susan's 0.260-m radius for 0.150 s. (a) What is the final angular momentum of the lazy Susan if it starts from rest, assuming friction is negligible? (b) What is the final angular velocity of the lazy Susan, given that its mass is 4.00 kg and assuming its moment of inertia is that of a disk?

The given figure shows a lazy Susan on which various eatables like cake, salad grapes, and a drink are kept. A hand is shown that applies a force F, indicated by a leftward pointing horizontal arrow. This force is perpendicular to the radius r and thus tangential to the circular lazy Susan.
Figure 10.21 A partygoer exerts a torque on a lazy Susan to make it rotate. The equation net τ=ΔLΔtnet τ=ΔLΔt size 12{"net "τ= { {ΔL} over {Δt} } } {} gives the relationship between torque and the angular momentum produced.

Strategy

We can find the angular momentum by solving net τ= Δ L Δ t net τ= Δ L Δ t size 12{"net "τ= { {ΔL} over {Δt} } } {} for ΔLΔL size 12{ΔL} {}, and using the given information to calculate the torque. The final angular momentum equals the change in angular momentum, because the lazy Susan starts from rest. That is, ΔL=LΔL=L size 12{ΔL=L} {}. To find the final velocity, we must calculate ωω size 12{ω} {} from the definition of LL size 12{L} {} in L=L= size 12{L=Iω} {}.

Solution for (a)

Solving net τ=ΔLΔtnet τ=ΔLΔt size 12{"net "τ= { {ΔL} over {Δt} } } {} for ΔLΔL size 12{ΔL} {} gives

ΔL=net τΔt.ΔL=net τΔt. size 12{ΔL= left ("net "τ right ) cdot Δt} {}
10.94

Because the force is perpendicular to rr size 12{r} {}, we see that net τ=rFnet τ=rF size 12{"net "τ= ital "rF"} {}, so that

L = rFΔt=(0.260 m)(2.50 N)(0.150 s) = 9.75×102kgm2/s.L = rFΔt=(0.260 m)(2.50 N)(0.150 s) = 9.75×102kgm2/s.
10.95

Solution for (b)

The final angular velocity can be calculated from the definition of angular momentum,

L=.L=. size 12{L=Iω} {}
10.96

Solving for ωω size 12{ω} {} and substituting the formula for the moment of inertia of a disk into the resulting equation gives

ω=LI=L12MR2.ω=LI=L12MR2. size 12{ω= { {L} over {I} } = { {L} over { { size 8{1} } wideslash { size 8{2} } ital "MR" rSup { size 8{2} } } } } {}
10.97

And substituting known values into the preceding equation yields

ω=9.75×102 kgm2/s0.5004.00 kg0.260 m=0.721 rad/s.ω=9.75×102 kgm2/s0.5004.00 kg0.260 m=0.721 rad/s. size 12{ω= { {9 "." "75" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 2} } " kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } "/s"} over { left (0 "." "500" right ) left (4 "." "00"" kg" right ) left (0 "." "260"" m" right )} } =0 "." "721"" rad/s"} {}
10.98

Discussion

Note that the imparted angular momentum does not depend on any property of the object but only on torque and time. The final angular velocity is equivalent to one revolution in 8.71 s (determination of the time period is left as an exercise for the reader), which is about right for a lazy Susan.

Take-Home Experiment

Plan an experiment to analyze changes to a system's angular momentum. Choose a system capable of rotational motion such as a lazy Susan or a merry-go-round. Predict how the angular momentum of this system will change when you add an object to the lazy Susan or jump onto the merry-go-round. What variables can you control? What are you measuring? In other words, what are your independent and dependent variables? Are there any independent variables that it would be useful to keep constant (angular velocity, perhaps)? Collect data in order to calculate or estimate the angular momentum of your system when in motion. What do you observe? Collect data in order to calculate the change in angular momentum as a result of the interaction you performed.

Using your data, how does the angular momentum vary with the size and location of an object added to the rotating system?

Example 10.13 Calculating the Torque in a Kick

The person whose leg is shown in Figure 10.22 kicks his leg by exerting a 2000-N force with his upper leg muscle. The effective perpendicular lever arm is 2.20 cm. Given the moment of inertia of the lower leg is 1.25 kgm21.25 kgm2 size 12{1 "." "25"`"kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } } {}, (a) find the angular acceleration of the leg. (b) Neglecting the gravitational force, what is the rotational kinetic energy of the leg after it has rotated through 57.57. size 12{"57" "." 3`°} {} (1.00 rad)?

The figure shows a human leg, from the thighs to the feet which is bent at the knee joint. The radius of curvature of the knee is indicated as r equal to two point two zero centimeters and the moment of inertia of the lower half of the leg is indicated as I equal to one point two five kilogram meter square. The direction of torque is indicated by a red arrow in anti-clockwise direction, near the knee.
Figure 10.22 The muscle in the upper leg gives the lower leg an angular acceleration and imparts rotational kinetic energy to it by exerting a torque about the knee. FF is a vector that is perpendicular to rr. This example examines the situation.

Strategy

The angular acceleration can be found using the rotational analog to Newton's second law, or α=net τ/Iα=net τ/I size 12{α="net "τ/I} {}. The moment of inertia II size 12{I} {} is given and the torque can be found easily from the given force and perpendicular lever arm. Once the angular acceleration αα size 12{α} {} is known, the final angular velocity and rotational kinetic energy can be calculated.

Solution to (a)

From the rotational analog to Newton's second law, the angular acceleration αα size 12{α} {} is

α=net τI.α=net τI. size 12{α= { {"net "τ} over {I} } } {}
10.99

Because the force and the perpendicular lever arm are given and the leg is vertical so that its weight does not create a torque, the net torque is thus

net τ = rF = 0.0220 m2000 N = 44.0 Nm. net τ = rF = 0.0220 m2000 N = 44.0 Nm.
10.100

Substituting this value for the torque and the given value for the moment of inertia into the expression for αα size 12{α} {} gives

α=44.0 Nm1.25 kgm2=35.2 rad/s2.α=44.0 Nm1.25 kgm2=35.2 rad/s2. size 12{α= { {"44" "." 0" N" cdot m} over {1 "." "25"" kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } } } ="35" "." 2" rad/s" rSup { size 8{2} } } {}
10.101

Solution to (b)

The final angular velocity can be calculated from the kinematic expression

ω2= ω02+2αθω2= ω02+2αθ
10.102

or

ω 2 = 2 αθ ω 2 = 2 αθ size 12{ω rSup { size 8{2} } =2 ital "αθ"} {}
10.103

because the initial angular velocity is zero. The kinetic energy of rotation is

KE rot = 1 2 2 KE rot = 1 2 2 size 12{"KE" rSub { size 8{"rot"} } = { {1} over {2} } Iω rSup { size 8{2} } } {}
10.104

so it is most convenient to use the value of ω2ω2 size 12{ω rSup { size 8{2} } } {} just found and the given value for the moment of inertia. The kinetic energy is then

KErot = 0.51.25 kgm270.4 rad2/s2 = 44.0 J. KErot = 0.51.25 kgm270.4 rad2/s2 = 44.0 J.
10.105

Discussion

These values are reasonable for a person kicking his leg starting from the position shown. The weight of the leg can be neglected in part (a) because it exerts no torque when the center of gravity of the lower leg is directly beneath the pivot in the knee. In part (b), the force exerted by the upper leg is so large that its torque is much greater than that created by the weight of the lower leg as it rotates. The rotational kinetic energy given to the lower leg is enough that it could give a ball a significant velocity by transferring some of this energy in a kick.

Making Connections: Conservation Laws

Angular momentum, like energy and linear momentum, is conserved. This universally applicable law is another sign of underlying unity in physical laws. Angular momentum is conserved when net external torque is zero, just as linear momentum is conserved when the net external force is zero.

Conservation of Angular Momentum

We can now understand why Earth keeps on spinning. As we saw in the previous example, ΔL=(netτ)ΔtΔL=(netτ)Δt size 12{ΔL= \( ital "net"τ \) cdot Δt} {}. This equation means that, to change angular momentum, a torque must act over some period of time. Because Earth has a large angular momentum, a large torque acting over a long time is needed to change its rate of spin. So what external torques are there? Tidal friction exerts torque that is slowing Earth's rotation, but tens of millions of years must pass before the change is very significant. Recent research indicates the length of the day was 18 h some 900 million years ago. Only the tides exert significant retarding torques on Earth, and so it will continue to spin, although ever more slowly, for many billions of years.

What we have here is, in fact, another conservation law. If the net torque is zero, then angular momentum is constant or conserved. We can see this rigorously by considering net τ= Δ L Δ t net τ= Δ L Δ t size 12{"net "τ= { {ΔL} over {Δt} } } {} for the situation in which the net torque is zero. In that case,

net τ=0net τ=0 size 12{"net "τ=0} {}
10.106

implying that

Δ L Δ t =0. Δ L Δ t =0. size 12{ { {ΔL} over {Δt} } =0} {}
10.107

If the change in angular momentum ΔLΔL size 12{ΔL} {} is zero, then the angular momentum is constant; thus,

L = constant net τ = 0 L = constant net τ = 0 size 12{L="constant " left ("net "τ=0 right )} {}
10.108

or

L = L net τ = 0 . L = L net τ = 0 . size 12{L=L'" " left ("net "τ=0 right )} {}
10.109

These expressions are the law of conservation of angular momentum. Conservation laws are as scarce as they are important.

An example of conservation of angular momentum is seen in Figure 10.23, in which an ice skater is executing a spin. The net torque on her is very close to zero, because there is relatively little friction between her skates and the ice and because the friction is exerted very close to the pivot point. (Both FF size 12{F} {} and rr size 12{r} {} are small, and so ττ size 12{τ} {} is negligibly small.) Consequently, she can spin for quite some time. She can do something else, too. She can increase her rate of spin by pulling her arms and legs in. Why does pulling her arms and legs in increase her rate of spin? The answer is that her angular momentum is constant, so that

L=L.L=L. size 12{L=L'} {}
10.110

Expressing this equation in terms of the moment of inertia,

=Iω,=Iω, size 12{Iω=I'ω'} {}
10.111

where the primed quantities refer to conditions after she has pulled in her arms and reduced her moment of inertia. Because II size 12{I'} {} is smaller, the angular velocity ωω size 12{ω'} {} must increase to keep the angular momentum constant. The change can be dramatic, as the following example shows.

The image a shows an ice skater spinning on the tip of her skate with both her arms and one leg extended. The image b shows the ice skater spinning on the tip of one skate, with her arms crossed and one leg supported on another.
Figure 10.23 (a) An ice skater is spinning on the tip of her skate with her arms extended. Her angular momentum is conserved because the net torque on her is negligibly small. In the next image, her rate of spin increases greatly when she pulls in her arms, decreasing her moment of inertia. The work she does to pull in her arms results in an increase in rotational kinetic energy.

Example 10.14 Calculating the Angular Momentum of a Spinning Skater

Suppose an ice skater, such as the one in Figure 10.23, is spinning at 0.800 rev/ s with her arms extended. She has a moment of inertia of 2.34kgm22.34kgm2 size 12{2 "." "34"`"kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } } {} with her arms extended and of 0.363kgm20.363kgm2with her arms close to her body. (These moments of inertia are based on reasonable assumptions about a 60.0-kg skater.) (a) What is her angular velocity in revolutions per second after she pulls in her arms? (b) What is her rotational kinetic energy before and after she does this?

Strategy

In the first part of the problem, we are looking for the skater's angular velocity ωω size 12{ { {ω}} sup { ' }} {} after she has pulled in her arms. To find this quantity, we use the conservation of angular momentum and note that the moments of inertia and initial revolutions per second are given. To find the initial and final kinetic energies, we use the definition of rotational kinetic energy given by

KErot=122.KErot=122. size 12{"KE" rSub { size 8{"rot"} } = { {1} over {2} } Iω rSup { size 8{2} } } {}
10.112

Solution for (a)

Because torque is negligible (as discussed above), the conservation of angular momentum given in =Iω=Iω size 12{Iω= { {I}} sup { ' } { {ω}} sup { ' }} {} is applicable. Thus,

L = L L = L size 12{L=L'} {}
10.113

or

= I ω = I ω size 12{Iω=I'ω'} {}
10.114

Solving for ωωand substituting known values into the resulting equation gives

ω = I I ω = 2.34 kg m 2 0 .363 kg m 2 0.800 rev/s (2π rad/rev) = 32.4 rad/s. ω = I I ω = 2.34 kg m 2 0 .363 kg m 2 0.800 rev/s (2π rad/rev) = 32.4 rad/s.
10.115

Solution for (b)

Rotational kinetic energy is given by

KErot=122.KErot=122. size 12{"KE" rSub { size 8{"rot"} } = { {1} over {2} } Iω rSup { size 8{2} } } {}
10.116

The initial value is found by substituting known values into the equation and converting the angular velocity to rad/s:

KE rot = ( 0 . 5) 2 . 34 kg m 2 0 . 800 rev/s rad/rev 2 = 29.6 J. KE rot = ( 0 . 5) 2 . 34 kg m 2 0 . 800 rev/s rad/rev 2 = 29.6 J.
10.117

The final rotational kinetic energy is

KErot=12Iω2.KErot=12Iω2.
10.118

Substituting known values into this equation gives

K E rot = 0 . 5 0 .363 kg m 2 (32.4 rad/s)2 = 191 J. K E rot = 0 . 5 0 .363 kg m 2 (32.4 rad/s)2 = 191 J. alignl { stack { size 12{K { {E}} sup { ' } rSub { size 8{"rot"} } = left (0 "." 5 right ) left (0 "." "363"" kg" cdot m rSup { size 8{2} } right ) left [ left (5 "." "16"" rev/s" right ) left (2π" rad/rev" right ) right ] rSup { size 8{2} } } {} # " "="191"" J" {} } } {}
10.119

Discussion

In both parts, there is an impressive increase. First, the final angular velocity is large, although most world-class skaters can achieve spin rates about this great. Second, the final kinetic energy is much greater than the initial kinetic energy. The increase in rotational kinetic energy comes from work done by the skater in pulling in her arms. This work is internal work that depletes some of the skater's food energy.

There are several other examples of objects that increase their rate of spin because something reduced their moment of inertia. Tornadoes are one example. Storm systems that create tornadoes are slowly rotating. When the radius of rotation narrows, even in a local region, angular velocity increases, sometimes to the furious level of a tornado. Earth is another example. Our planet was born from a huge cloud of gas and dust, the rotation of which came from turbulence in an even larger cloud. Gravitational forces caused the cloud to contract, and the rotation rate increased as a result. (See Figure 10.24.)

The first figure shows a cloud of dust and gas,which is in the shape of a distorted circle, rotating in anti-clockwise direction with an angular velocity omega, indicated by a curved black arrow, and having an angular momentum L. The second figure shows an elliptical cloud of dust with the Sun in the middle of it, rotating in anti-clockwise direction with an angular velocity omega dash, indicated by a curved black arrow, and having an angular momentum L. The third figure depicts the Solar System, with the Sun in the middle of it and the various planets revolve around it in their respective elliptical orbits in anti-clockwise direction, which is indicated by arrows. The angular momentum remains L.
Figure 10.24 The Solar System coalesced from a cloud of gas and dust that was originally rotating. The orbital motions and spins of the planets are in the same direction as the original spin and conserve the angular momentum of the parent cloud.

In case of human motion, one would not expect angular momentum to be conserved when a body interacts with the environment as its foot pushes off the ground. Astronauts floating in space aboard the International Space Station have no angular momentum relative to the inside of the ship if they are motionless. Their bodies will continue to have this zero value no matter how they twist about as long as they do not give themselves a push off the side of the vessel.

Check Your Undestanding

Is angular momentum completely analogous to linear momentum? What, if any, are their differences?

Solution

Yes, angular and linear momentums are completely analogous. While they are exact analogs they have different units and are not directly inter-convertible like forms of energy are.

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