# Moment of inertia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Moment of inertia

This article is about the moment of inertia of a rotating object. For the moment of inertia dealing with the bending of a beam, see second moment of area or area moment of inertia. In classical mechanics, moment of inertia, also called mass moment of inertia, rotational inertia, polar moment of inertia of mass, or the angular mass, (SI units kg·m²) is a measure of an object's resistance to changes to its rotation. It is the inertia of a rotating body with respect to its rotation. The moment of inertia plays much the same role in rotational dynamics as mass does in linear dynamics, describing the relationship between angular momentum and angular velocity, torque and angular acceleration, and several other quantities. The symbol I and sometimes J are usually used to refer to the moment of inertia or polar moment of inertia. While a simple scalar treatment of the moment of inertia suffices for many situations, a more advanced tensor treatment allows the analysis of such complicated systems as spinning tops and gyroscopic motion. The concept was introduced by Leonhard Euler in his book Theoria motus corporum solidorum seu rigidorum in 1765. [1] In this book, he discussed the moment of inertia and many related concepts, such as the principal axis of inertia.

Classical mechanics
Newton's Second Law

History of classical mechanics · Timeline of classical mechanics Branches Statics · Dynamics / Kinetics · Kinematics · Applied mechanics · Celestial mechanics · Continuum mechanics · Statistical mechanics Formulations ■ Newtonian mechanics (Vectorial mechanics) ■ Analytical mechanics: ■ Lagrangian mechanics ■ Hamiltonian mechanics Fundamental concepts Space · Time · Velocity · Speed · Mass · Acceleration · Gravity · Force · Impulse · Torque / Moment / Couple · Momentum · Angular momentum · Inertia · Moment of inertia · Reference frame · Energy · Kinetic energy · Potential energy · Mechanical work · Virtual work · D'Alembert's principle Core topics Rigid body · Rigid body dynamics · Euler's equations (rigid body dynamics) · Motion · Newton's laws of motion · Newton's law of universal gravitation · Equations of motion · Inertial frame of reference · Non-inertial reference frame · Rotating reference frame · Fictitious force · Linear motion ·

Contents
■ 1 Overview ■ 2 Scalar moment of inertia for single body ■ 3 Scalar moment of inertia for many bodies ■ 3.1 Moment of Inertia Theorems ■ 3.2 Properties ■ 3.3 Energy, Angular Momentum, Torque ■ 3.4 Examples ■ 4 Moment of inertia tensor ■ 4.1 Definition ■ 4.2 Derivation of the tensor components ■ 4.3 Reduction to scalar ■ 5 Principal axes of inertia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia

11/07/2011

3 Comparison with covariance matrix ■ ■ ■ ■ 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links Overview The moment of inertia of an object about a given axis describes how difficult it is to change its angular motion about that axis. a scalar form. Figure skaters who begin a spin with arms outstretched provide a striking example. the more rotational inertia the object has. Therefore.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . hoop A has a larger moment of inertia than hoop B. http://en. The farther out the object's mass is. However. it encompasses not just how much mass the object has overall. for (more complicated) problems in which the axis of rotation can change. for a given angular velocity. made of the same material and of equal mass. (used when the axis of rotation is specified) and a more general tensor form that does not require the axis of rotation to be specified. Examples requiring such a treatment include gyroscopes. The scalar moment of inertia. they reduce their moment of inertia.wikipedia. By pulling in their arms. A and B. and the tensor treatment must be used (although shortcuts are possible in special situations).Moment of inertia . the free encyclopedia Page 2 of 13 ■ 5. For example. Mechanics of planar particle motion · Displacement (vector) · Relative velocity · Friction · Simple harmonic motion · Harmonic oscillator · Vibration · Damping · Damping ratio · Rotational motion · Circular motion · Uniform circular motion · Non-uniform circular motion · Centripetal force · Centrifugal force · Centrifugal force (rotating reference frame) · Reactive centrifugal force · Coriolis force · Pendulum · Rotational speed · Angular acceleration · Angular velocity · Angular frequency · Angular displacement Scientists Galileo Galilei · Isaac Newton · Jeremiah Horrocks · Leonhard Euler · Jean le Rond d'Alembert · Alexis Clairaut · Joseph Louis Lagrange · Pierre-Simon Laplace · William Rowan Hamilton · Siméon-Denis Poisson The moment of inertia of an object can change if its shape changes. but how far each bit of mass is from the axis. (often called simply the "moment of inertia") allows a succinct analysis of many simple Divers reducing their moments of problems in rotational dynamics. and even satellites.1 Parallel axis theorem ■ 5. depending on their moments of inertia. causing them to spin faster (by the conservation of angular momentum). tops. rolling objects may descend at different rates. move more quickly than mass closer in. Hoop A is larger in diameter but thinner than B. It requires more effort to accelerate hoop A (change its angular velocity) because its mass is distributed farther from its axis of rotation: mass that is farther out from that axis must. The moment of inertia has two forms. while a block rotation of any shape will slide down a frictionless decline at the same rate. I. I. A hoop will descend more slowly than a solid disk of equal mass and radius because more of its mass is located far from the axis of rotation. the scalar treatment is inadequate. consider two hoops. So in this case.2 Rotational symmetry ■ 5. such as objects rolling down inertia to increase their rates of inclines and the behavior of pulleys. and the more force is required to change its rotation rate. all objects whose alignment can change.Wikipedia. For instance.

The easiest way to differentiate these quantities is through their units (kg·m² as opposed to m4). which is sometimes called the area moment of inertia (especially by structural engineers). The moment of inertia is usually denoted with the capital letter I: http://en. the free encyclopedia Page 3 of 13 The moment of inertia is also called the mass moment of inertia (especially by mechanical engineers) to avoid confusion with the second moment of area. Then the kinetic energy T of the mass is: Using v = Lω. and instead of the mass m is mL . it is a measure of rotational inertia.wikipedia. one obtains: which can be rearranged to give: This equation resembles the original expression for the kinetic energy. which is a measure of an object's ability to resist torsion (twisting) only. so that the total kinetic energy T of the body can be calculated as In this expression the quantity in parentheses is called the moment of inertia of the body (with respect to the specified axis of rotation). they are similar: if the solid for which the moment of inertia is being calculated has uniform thickness in the direction of the rotating axis. Scalar moment of inertia for many bodies Consider a rigid body rotating with angular velocity ω around a certain axis. The body consists of N point masses mi whose distances to the axis of rotation are denoted ri. as it depends only on its shape and the position of the rotation axis. where ω is the angular velocity in radians per second.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . The quantity mL can therefore be seen as an analogue of mass for rotational motion. It is a purely geometric characteristic of the object. Each point mass will have the speed vi = ωri. and also has uniform mass density. although. polar moment of inertia of area). Suppose the rod rotates about its pivot at a constant rate so that the mass moves at speed v.Wikipedia. in other words. moment of inertia should not be confused with polar moment of inertia (more specifically.Moment of inertia . the difference between the two types of moments of inertia is a factor of mass per unit area. mathematically. In addition. but in the place of the linear 2 2 velocity v is the angular velocity ω. Scalar moment of inertia for single body Consider a rigid light rod of length L with a point mass m at one end and pivoted at the other end.

and d(r) is the distance from point r to the axis of rotation. Similarly. The integration is evaluated over the volume V of the body. not towards the origin.wikipedia. As such. Theorem Nomenclature Equation Superposition Principle for I = Resultant MOI (about any one axis) MOI about any chosen Axis net M = Total mass of body d = Perpendicular distance from an axis through the COM to another parallel axis ICOM = MOI about the axis through the COM I = MOI about the parallel axis i. k refer to MOI about any three mutually Perpendicular axis theorem perpendicular axes. the moment of inertia of a continuous solid body rotating about a known axis can be calculated by replacing the summation with the integral: where r is the radius vector of a point within the body.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . Parallel axis theorem Properties Superposition http://en. Moment of Inertia Theorems Calculations for the MOI of a body are not easy in general. The sum of MOI about any two is greater than or equal to the third. j. the free encyclopedia Page 4 of 13 It is worth emphasizing that ri here is the distance from a point towards the axis of rotation. ρ(r) is the mass density at point r. or generally an approximation) ■ Use of the following theorems [2]. see below for details. The process can be simplified in the following ways: ■ Choosing axes to take advantage of geometric symmetries ■ Physical homeogeneity (i. the moment of inertia will be different when considering rotations about different axes.Moment of inertia .Wikipedia.e uniform mass distribution) making the density function ρ(r) become constant (elementary calculations.

and the angular velocity ω stands for the velocity v. one has to use the object’s moment of inertia tensor. Thus. which is parallel to the original and located at a distance d from it. The equivalent formula involving the tensor moment of inertia is always correct and must be used in cases of free rotation about a non-principal axis. then the moment of inertia of the whole body about a given axis is equal to the sum of moments of inertia of each part around the same axis. then the parallel axis theorem or Huygens-Steiner theorem provides a convenient formula to compute the moment of inertia Id of the same body around a different axis. where the moment of inertia I plays the role of mass m. where M is the mass. the moment of inertia must take the form I = c·M·L2. defined later.Wikipedia.wikipedia. the free encyclopedia Page 5 of 13 The moment of inertia of the body is additive. Iz are moments of inertia around three perpendicular axes passing through the body’s center of mass. Torque The rotational kinetic energy of a rigid body with angular velocity ω (in radians per second) is expressed in terms of the object’s moment of inertia: This formula is similar to the translational kinetic energy Et = ½mv2. Parallel Axes If the object’s moment of inertia ICOM around a certain axis passing through the center of mass is known. then each of them cannot be greater than the sum of two others: for example Iz ≤ Ix + Iy.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . Angular Momentum. and c is a is called the radius of gyration of dimensionless inertial constant. Perpendicular Axes If Ix. the length the body. The formula is only suitable when the initial and final axes are parallel. L is the “size” of the body in the direction perpendicular to the axis of rotation.[3] Basing just on the dimensional analysis. The invariant characteristic of the body in rotational motion is the tensor of moment of inertia I. The scalar formula is valid for rotations around one of the principal axes of the body or for rotation about any fixed axis. In order to compute the moment of inertia about an arbitrary axis. That is.Moment of inertia . Here the equality holds only if the body is flat and located in the Oxy coordinate plane. The angular momentum of the body rotating around one of its principal axis is also proportional to the moment of inertia: This expression is parallel to the formula for translational momentum p = mv. http://en. the moment of inertia I plays the role of mass in the rotational dynamics. One key difference between the mass and the (scalar) moment of inertia is that the latter depends on the axis rotation and so is not truly invariant. Iy. Energy. if a body can be decomposed (either physically or conceptually) into several constituent parts. Additionally.

where I is the moment of inertia around the axis passing through the center of mass.wikipedia. rotating around the axis which passes through its center and is perpendicular to the rod. with atoms m1 and m2 at a distance d from each other. rotating around the axis which passes through the molecule’s center of mass and is perpendicular to the direction of the molecule.y. and Ox the axis along the rod. rotating around an axis which passes through the center. Examples Main article: List of moments of inertia Diatomic molecule. and the direction of the axis of rotation remains constant. If we consider rotation around the axis passing through the atom m1. Then http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . Thin rod of mass m and length ℓ. then the volume element for the integral formula will be equal to dV = s·dx. Thus. The calculation considerably simplifies if we notice that by symmetry of the problem. the moments of inertia around all axes are equal: Ix = Iy = Iz. The easiest way to calculate this molecule’s moment of inertia is to use the parallel axis theorem. On the other hand. by the parallel axis theorem this moment is equal to I1 = I + (m1 + m2)·a2. The moment of inertia can be found by computing the integral: Solid ball of mass m and radius R. Thus. then the moment of inertia will be I1 = m1·0 + m2·d 2 = m2d 2.z) towards the axis Oz is equal to d(r)2 = x2 + y2. Suppose Oz is the axis of rotation. If ρ is the density. and s the cross-section of the rod (so that m = ρℓs). we need to evaluate the integral ∭(x2 + y2) dV. where x changes from −½ℓ to ½ℓ. in order to compute the moment of inertia Iz. The distance from point r = (x. this distance is equal to a = m2d / (m1 + m2). By the center of mass formula. and a is the distance between the center of mass and the first atom. the free encyclopedia Page 6 of 13 Also when the body rotates around one of its principal axes. one can relate the torque on an object and its angular acceleration in a similar equation: where τ is the torque and α is the angular acceleration.Moment of inertia . Let Oz be the axis of rotation.

Moment of inertia tensor In three dimensions. Definition For a rigid object of N point masses mk. In general. When considering mechanisms like gear trains. In this practical the equivalent moment of inertia of a worm and wheel system is measured using above mention methods. where there are more than one rotating element. Like the scalar moment of inertia. worm and wheel.. Practically when a geared system is enclosed. if the axis of rotation is not given. when designing rotary parts like gears.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . the moment of inertia tensor may be calculated with respect to any point in space. This integral is easy to evaluate in the spherical coordinates. Thus. This quantity is known as the moment of inertia tensor and can be represented as a symmetric positive semi -definite matrix.Wikipedia. but for practical purposes. the moment of inertia tensor (with respect to the origin) has components given by http://en. the volume element will be equal to dV = 4πr2dr. its components are time dependent. shafts. the center of mass is almost always used. The moment of inertia is given about an axis and it depends on the shape. have to be considered. where r goes from 0 to R. more than one axis of rotation. density of a rotating element. the free encyclopedia Page 7 of 13 where r2 = x2 + y2 + z2 is the distance from point r to the origin. which are used to transmit torques the moment of inertia. couplings etc. an equivalent moment of inertia for the system should be found. equivalent moment of inertia can be measured by measuring the angular acceleration for a known torque or theoretically it can be estimated when the masses and dimensions of the rotating elements and shafts are known.wikipedia. This representation elegantly generalizes the scalar case: The angular momentum vector is related to the rotation velocity vector ω by and the kinetic energy is given by as compared with in the scalar case.Moment of inertia . I. pulleys. In mechanics of machines. we need to be able to generalize the scalar moment of inertia to a quantity that allows us to compute a moment of inertia about arbitrary axes.

the free encyclopedia Page 8 of 13 . I13 = I31.wikipedia. where and I12 = I21. One then has In more-concise notation: http://en. Here Ixx denotes the moment of inertia around the x-axis when the objects are rotated around the x-axis.Wikipedia. Ixy denotes the moment of inertia around the y-axis when the objects are rotated around the x-axis. and so on.) Note that the scalars Iij with are called the products of inertia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . and I23 = I32. These quantities can be generalized to an object with distributed mass. in a similar fashion to the scalar moment of inertia. described by a mass density function. (Thus I is a symmetric tensor.Moment of inertia .

org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . For multiple particles we need only recall that the moment of inertia is additive in order to see that this formula is correct. However it should be noted that although this equation is mathematically equivalent to the equation above for any matrix. I and its components are in general time-dependent. This is exactly the formula given below for the moment of inertia in the case of a single particle. the above can be described in Einstein notation as: The diagonal elements of I are called the principal moments of inertia. E3 is the 3 × 3 identity matrix. the eigenvalues I are invariant. They are constant only if calculated in a reference frame moving rigidly with the rigid body. By using the formula I = mr (and some simple vector algebra) it can be seen that the moment of inertia of this particle (about the axis of rotation passing through the origin in the This is a quadratic form in and. after a bit more direction) is algebra. The following equivalent expression avoids the use of transposed vectors which are not supported in maths libraries because internally vectors and their transpose are stored as the same linear array. Alternatively. inertia tensors are symmetrical.Moment of inertia . the free encyclopedia Page 9 of 13 where is the vector from the center of mass to a point in the volume. Reduction to scalar For any axis . this leads to a tensor formula for the moment of inertia . V and is their outer product. represented as a column vector with elements ni. Derivation of the tensor components The distance r of a particle at from the axis of rotation passing through the origin in the direction is 2 . This means that it can be further simplified to: http://en.wikipedia. and V is a region of space completely containing the object. As is clear from the definition.Wikipedia. the scalar form I can be calculated from the tensor form I as The range of both summations correspond to the three Cartesian coordinates. On the other hand. that is independent of the reference frame used to calculate I.

and is the outer product. When all principal moments of inertia are distinct. This result was first shown by J. there is a useful labor-saving method to compute the tensor for rotations offset from the center of mass.wikipedia. meaning that the moment of inertia is the same about any axis. it is a spherical top. i. If a rigid body has at least two symmetry axes that are not parallel or perpendicular to each other. Sylvester (1852).Moment of inertia .. there exists a Cartesian coordinate system in which it is diagonal. The principal axis with the highest moment of inertia is sometimes called the figure axis or axis of figure. and is a form of Sylvester's law of inertia.. the free encyclopedia Page 10 of 13 Principal axes of inertia By the spectral theorem. a cube or any other Platonic solid. J. the rigid body is called a spherical top (although it need not be spherical) and any axis can be considered a principal axis. I2 and I3 are called the principal moments of inertia. http://en. since the moment of inertia tensor is real and symmetric. If a rigid body has an axis of symmetry of order m.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . the principal axes through center of mass are uniquely specified. the rigid body is called a symmetrical top and there is no unique choice for the two corresponding principal axes.Wikipedia. If two principal moments are the same. Parallel axis theorem Main article: Parallel axis theorem Once the moment of inertia tensor has been calculated for rotations about the center of mass of the rigid body. which basically means adjusting the distribution of mass of a car wheel such that its principal axis of inertia is aligned with the axle so the wheel does not wobble. When m > 2. If the axis of rotation is displaced by a vector R from the center of mass. The motion of vehicles is often described about these axes with the rotations called yaw. the new moment of inertia tensor equals where m is the total mass of the rigid body.e. having the form where the coordinate axes are called the principal axes and the constants I1. and roll. E3 is the 3 × 3 identity matrix. the symmetry axis is a principal axis. If all three principal moments are the same. the rigid body is a symmetrical top. A practical example of this mathematical phenomenon is the routine automotive task of balancing a tire. pitch. e.g. The principal axes are often aligned with the object's symmetry axes. is symmetrical under rotations of 360°/m about a given axis.

The structure of the moment-of-inertia tensor comes from the fact that it is to be used as a bilinear form on rotation vectors in the form Each element of mass has a kinetic energy of The velocity of each element of mass is where r is a vector from the center of rotation to that element of mass.Moment of inertia . The cross product can be converted to matrix multiplication so that and similarly Thus.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia 11/07/2011 . Comparison with covariance matrix Main article: Moment (mathematics) The moment of inertia tensor about the center of mass of a 3 dimensional rigid body is related to the covariance matrix of a trivariate random vector whose probability density function is proportional to the pointwise density of the rigid body by:[citation needed] where n is the number of points. plugging in the definition of the term leads directly to the structure of the moment tensor.Wikipedia. the free encyclopedia Page 11 of 13 Rotational symmetry Using the above equation to express all moments of inertia in terms of integrals of variables either along or perpendicular to the axis of symmetry usually simplifies the calculation of these moments considerably. See also ■ List of moments of inertia ■ List of moment of inertia tensors ■ Rotational energy http://en.