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Rotational Inertia

Purpose This lab will study angular motion. The apparatus is shown in figure 1.
M1 M2

In this lab, r is perpendicular to F. so that equation (2) can be written as =rF. Figure 2 shows the apparatus from above, where one can see r and F.
M1 r M2 F from hanging weight

R 2r

Figure 2. Apparatus showing r and F.


Figure 1. Side view of the apparatus. Use m=100g. The mass of the screws is added to M. Background Angular motion can be described by equations that are analogous to equations describing linear motion. Furthermore, kinematic variables that are used in angular equations have analogs in linear motion as well. For example the equation F=ma is a linear equation in that it describes the motion of the centerof-mass of an object with mass, m. The analogous equation describing the rotation of an object is given by, (1)
= I ,

In this lab an object will be rotated as the result of a torque produced by the force of hanging weights of mass m, acting on the vertical shaft over a radius, r. An additional torque is produced by friction in the bearings of the rotating shaft. The resulting acceleration of the hanging weights will be determined by using the VideoPoint system. The left-hand side of equation (1) contains the sum of the torques acting on the system. With this in mind we can write, Fs r f = I , (3) where Fs is the tension force from the string, r is the radius of the rotating shaft, f is the torque due to friction, and I is the moment of inertia of the rotating system. The moment of inertia can be considered as due to two parts, the variable weights added to the horizontal rod, and the rest of the rotating system, I0. The variable weights will be treated as point masses, M=M1+M2, located a distance R from the axis of rotation. M includes all the mass that is moved on the horizontal shaft.

where is torque, I is the moment of inertia of the object (the object's resistance to angular motion), and is the angular acceleration (the number of radians/sec2). Torques are the result of forces and are related to forces by the equation, (2) =rxF.

Thus we have, (4)

I = I 0 + MR 2

intercept is given by (I0+mr2), from which I0 can be determined. Procedure Record all measurement uncertainties. For a given value of M and R, make a video of the falling mass and obtain a from the slope of v vs. t. Repeat this for 2 values of M and 5 values of R. Analysis Derive equation (7). Plot MR2 vs. 1/ a as described in the background section. Discuss how well the shape of the distribution agrees with predictions of equation (7). Uncertainty Analysis As described in Data Analysis, obtain the maximum and minimum slopes, mmax, mmin. From these obtain mbest and m. Do the same for the intercepts. From these values determine f and I0 and their uncertainties. That is, your final answer should be in the form,

A force analysis of the hanging weights allows us to relate the linear acceleration of the falling mass to the angular acceleration rotating mass. The force analysis of the hanging weights yields, (5)
mg Fs = ma ,

where m is the mass of the hanging weights. The angular acceleration, , is related to the acceleration of the falling weights, a, by (6)

a = r .

Equations (3), (4), (5), and (6) can be used to obtain a relationship between two experimentally measured quantities MR2 and a , (7) MR 2 = ( mgr 2 f r ) ( I 0 + mr 2 )
1 a

Compare this to the equation (8) y = mx + b and

f +/- f
I0 +/- I0

Here we can see the equation (7) has the form of a straight line (y=mx+b) if we consider the following comparison;
MR 2 = ( mgr 2 f r )
y = m

Include a discussion section preceding your data. Io is the moment of inertia of the top rod. Measure the mass and the length of the rod and calculate the moment of inertia of the rod for the axis of rotation perpendicular to its length and through its center. Compare the experimental and calculated values of Io.

1 ( I 0 + mr 2 ) a
+ b

Equation (7) will be studied in this experiment. Equation (7) can be verified graphically by plotting MR2 vs. 1/ a . The slope will be given by (mgr2-fr), from which f can be determined. The

Instructor's Notes Hanging weights should be at least (roughly) 100g I think. Depends on rotating weights. For the masses on the rotating arms use no more than about 100-150g. Any more and the Io from the rotating shafts are hard to see from the intercept of the plot. That is, the rotating mass is much larger than Io.