You are on page 1of 11

Angular Kinematics

Objectives: • Introduce the angular concepts of absolute and relative angles, displacement, distance, velocity, and speed • Learn how to compute angular displacement, velocity, and speed • Learn to compute and estimate instantaneous angular velocity

Angular Kinematics
Kinematics • The form, pattern, or sequencing of movement with respect to time • Forces causing the motion are not considered Angular Motion (Rotation) • All points in an object or system move in a circle about a single axis of rotation. All points move through the same angle in the same time Angular Kinematics • The kinematics of particles, objects, or systems undergoing angular motion


Angular Kinematics & Motion
• Most volitional movement is performed through rotation of the body segments • The body is often analyzed as a collection of rigid, rotating segments linked at the joint centers • This is a rough approximation




Measuring Angles
Degrees: 90 57.3° 180 0, 360 Radians:


1 radian 0, 2 π


270 1 radian = 57.3° 1 revolution = 360° = 2π radians θ(degrees) = (180/π)× θ(radians)

π = 3.14159
Note: Excel uses radians!


Positive vs. Negative Angles
By convention, when describing angular kinematics: • positive angles counterclockwise rotation • negative angles clockwise rotation

+90° +57.3° +180°


0,+360° -180°

0,-360° -57.3°



Absolute Angle (or Angle of Inclination)
• Angular orientation of a line segment with respect to a fixed line of reference • Use the same reference for all absolute angles
θ θ

Trunk angle from horizontal

Trunk angle from vertical


Angular Displacement
• Change in the angular position or orientation of a line segment • Doesn’t depend on the path between orientations • Has angular units (e.g. degrees, radians)
axis of rotation

initial orientation

final orientation

angular displacement

Computing Angular Displacement
• Compute angular displacement (∆θ) by subtraction of angular positions:

∆θ = θfinal – θinitial ∆θ
final orientation


initial orientation

axis of rotation


Angular Distance
• Sum of the magnitude of all angular changes undergone by a rotating body • Has angular units of length (e.g. degrees, radians) • Distance ≥ (Magnitude of displacement)
Angular Distance = 225° intermediate orientation -90° 135° Angular Displacement = 45° initial orientation final orientation

axis of rotation

Example Problem #1
A figure skater spins 10.5 revolutions in a clockwise direction, pauses, then spins 60° counterclockwise before skating away. What were the total angular distance and angular displacement?


Relative Angle
• Angle between two line segments • Compute relative angle by subtraction of absolute angular positions:

θ(1→2) = θ2 – θ1
segment 2

θ(1→2) θ2 θ1

segment 1

axis of rotation

Joint Angles
• Joint angles are relative angles between longitudinal axes of adjacent segments (or between anteriorposterior axes for internal rotation)

θelbow θshoulder θhip θknee θankle
Use a consistent sign convention for joint angles (e.g. + = flexion)


Computing Joint Angles
• Involves subtracting absolute angles of segments • Exact formula and order of subtraction depends on the joint and the convention chosen

θknee = θleg– θthigh

θknee = 180° + θthigh– θleg

θthigh θleg

θthigh θknee




Angular Velocity
• The rate of change in the absolute or relative angular position or orientation of a line segment
change in angular angular position = = velocity change in time angular displacement change in time

• Shorthand notation:


θfinal – θinitial tfinal – tinitial


∆θ ∆t

• Has units of (angular units)/time (e.g. radians/s, °/s)


Angular Speed
• The angular distance traveled divided by the time taken to cover it • Equal to the average magnitude of the instantaneous angular velocity over that time.

angular speed =

angular distance change in time

• Has units of (angular units)/time (e.g. radians/s, °/s)

Angular Speed vs. Velocity
Angular Distance = 225° end of backswing -90° 135° Angular Displacement = 45° racquet at start end of followthrough

tennis player

Assume tennis stroke shown takes 0.75 s: Speed = 225° 0.75 s Velocity = +45° 0.75 s

= 300°/s

= +60°/s


Example Problem #2
The figure skater of Problem #1 completes the first (clockwise) spin in 3 s, pauses for 1 s, then completes the second (counterclockwise) spin in 0.3 s. What were her average angular velocity and average angular speed during the first spin? What were her average angular velocity and average angular speed for the skill as a whole?

Example Problem #3
A person is performing a squat exercise. She starts from a standing (i.e. anatomical) position. At her lowest point, 2 seconds later, her knees are flexed to 60° and her hips are flexed to 90° from the anatomical position. 1 second later, she has risen back to the standing position and completed the exercise. What were the average knee and hip angular velocities during each phase of the exercise? for the exercise as a whole?


Average vs. Instantaneous Velocity
• Previous formulas give us the average velocity between an initial time (t1) and a final time (t2) • Instantaneous angular velocity is the angular velocity at a single instant in time • Can estimate instantaneous angular velocity using the central difference method:

ω (at t1) =

θ (at t1 + ∆t) – θ (at t1 – ∆t) 2 ∆t

where ∆t is a very small change in time

Angular Velocity as a Slope
• Graph of angular position vs. time slope = instantaneous ω at t1 ∆θ(1→2) ∆t t1 ∆t(1→2) t2 time (s) slope = average ω from t1 to t2

θ (degrees)


Estimating Angular Velocity
θ (deg) Identify points with zero slope = points with zero velocity Portions of the curve with positive slope have positive velocity (i.e. velocity in the + direction) Portions of the curve with negative slope have negative velocity (i.e. velocity in the – direction)

time (s) ω (deg/s) 0

time (s)

Example Problem #4
A gymnast swings back and forth from the high bar as shown below. Sketch her angular velocity.
80 60 40 angle (deg) 20 0 0 -20 -40 -60 time (s) 2 4 6 8 10