# Dr.

Neal, WKU

MATH 117

Angular Velocity vs. Linear Velocity

Given an object with a fixed speed that is moving in a circle with a fixed radius, we can define the angular velocity ! of the object. That is, we can determine how fast the radian measure of the angle is changing as the object moves on its circular path.

r

v

!
v = linear speed ! = angular speed v =!r r

We always use radians as the unit of measure when working with angular velocity. For instance, our angular velocities should be in units such as (rad ) / sec or (rad ) / hr . However sometimes we will give the result in other layman’s terms, such as revolutions per minute or degrees per second, so as to give a better understanding of how fast the angle is moving. But in order to do calculations with angular velocity, we always must use radians. (rad ) ! ft Note though that radians will be an “invisible” unit. For example the units sec will yield ft/sec. Relationship Between Angular Velocity ! and Linear Velocity v Given a fixed speed v and radius r , then

v = !r

!=

v r

!=

2" time of 1 rev.

Example 1. A cylinder with a 2.5 ft radius is rotating at 120 rpm. (a) Give the angular velocity in rad/sec and in degrees per second. (b) Find the linear velocity of a point on its rim in mph. Solution. (a) To convert rpm (revolutions per minute) to radians per second, we first note that there are 2 ! radians per revolution. We then have