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# MOMENT OF INERTIA

## OBJECTIVE: To determine experimentally the moment of inertia of an object and to compare

this with the theoretical vale obtained from the mass and dimensions of the object!
T"EO#\$: %hen an object at rest is set into rotation abot some axis& it has a tendency to 'eep
rotatin( at some an(lar speed& , measred in radians)sec! This tendency is called the
rotational inertia and is characteri*ed by a physical +antity called the moment of inertia& I& of
the object! ,oment of inertia is the rotational conterpart of inertial mass in linear motion!
"ence the 'inetic ener(y of a rotatin( object is:
KE - I
.
/01

In the experiment we set the object rotatin( by attachin( it to a han(in( wei(ht and allowin( the
wei(ht to fall! Before droppin( the wei(ht& the ener(y is all potential ener(y& that of the han(in(
wei(ht! 2t the instant the wei(ht hits the floor the ener(y is all 'inetic ener(y& both in the
rotatin( body and in the fallin( object! I(norin( friction and the rotational 'inetic ener(y of the
plley /which is reasonable to do since both the object and plley rotate with little friction and
the plley3s moment of inertia is extremely small compared to that of the object1& we can apply
the 4aw of Conservation of Ener(y:
mgh - mv
f
.
5 I
f
.
! /.1
The velocity /v1 of the han(in( wei(ht is related to the an(lar velocity /1 of the rotatin( object
by v - r where r is the radis of the drm on the object! The final velocity is related to the
avera(e velocity& and the avera(e velocity can be fond from the distance dropped /h1 and the
time /t1 for the drop: v
avg
- /v
f
5 v
i
1 ) . & and v
avg
- h ) t& so that /with v
i
- 6& i!e!& startin( from
rest1 v
f
- .h ) t! %e can now sbstitte for both v
f
and
f
in E+! /.1 and solve for I in terms of
the measrable +antities m, g, h, t

and r :
I - mr
.
7 /gt
.
) .h1 8 0 9 /:1
The above e+ation will allow s to find the moment of inertia experimentally for any object!
%e will compare or reslts for a niform& solid dis' and a niform rin( with those derived from
theory! ;sin( the definition of moment of inertia& I - r
.
dm & one can show that theory predicts
I
disk
- MR
.
/<1
I
ring
- M/R
IN
.
5 R
OUT
.
1 /=1
where M is the mass of the dis' or rin(& R is the radis of the dis'& R
IN
is the inner radis of the
dis'& and R
OUT
is the oter radis of the dis'! />ote: the ?5@ si(n is correct in E+! /=1A1
,oment of Inertia
B#OCEC;#E:
01 Be(in with the empty apparats as the rotatin( object! [CAUTION: 2djst the hei(ht of the
plley so that the strin( will wind and nwind from the apparats strai(ht withot (ettin( tan(led
p in the bearin(sA DTOB the rotation of the drm once the wei(ht hits the floor to prevent
possible tan(lin(A] #ecord the hei(ht h! In selectin( a mass to start the apparats rotatin(&
experiment with different masses ntil yo find one that will (ive a time of fall between : and E
seconds! %hyF /"I>T: consider sorces of error!1 Once an acceptable mass has been fond&
time at least three falls and then determine an avera(e time to se in E+! /:1! %hyF >ow
measre r& the radis of the rotatin( drm& with a pair of calipers and se E+! /:1 to calclate I!
Call this moment of inertia I
app
& the moment of inertia of the apparats!
.1 >ow place the rin( in the apparats and find the moment of inertia as yo did in Dtep 0
sin( E+! /:1! The moment of inertia that yo find is the moment of inertia of the apparats
B4;D the moment of inertia of the rin(! Dbtract yor vale of I
app
from this I to find the
moment of inertia of the rin(& I
ring
!
:1 #emove the rin( and place the dis' in the apparats and find the moment of inertia!
Dbtract the vale of I
app
from yor vale of I to find the moment of inertia of the dis'& I
disk
!
<1 >ow place the rin( on top of the dis' so that both are in the apparats and find the moment
of inertia! Dbtract the vale of I
app
from yor vale of I to find the moment of inertia of the
dis')rin( combination& I
comb
!
=1 ,easre the radis of the dis' and the inner and oter radii of the rin(! #ecord the masses
of the rin( and dis' which shold be painted on the rin( and dis'! >ow se E+s! /<8=1 to
calclate the theoretical moments of inertia of the rin( and dis'!
#EBO#T:
0! ,a'e a s'etch of the experimental set8p! Indicate the +antities m, r, and h on the s'etch!
.! Compare yor experimental and theoretical moments of inertia for the rin(! 2re they close&
within 06GF Can yo explain any discrepancyF
:! Compare yor experimental and theoretical moments of inertia for the dis'! 2re they close&
within 06GF Can yo explain any discrepancyF
<! Compare yor experimental and theoretical moments of inertia for rin()dis' combination!
2ccordin( to theory& the two moments of inertia simply add to (ive the moment of the
combination! 2re they closeF Can yo explain any discrepancyF
=! Compare the masses and the moments of inertia of the rin( and dis'! %hich mass is
bi((erF By how mchF %hich moment of inertia is bi((erF By how mchF Explain these
resltsA
Check ith !o"r instr"ctor on the ne#t to steps\$ the! ma! be optiona% for an in&c%ass report'
H! ;sin( al(ebra& derive E+! /=1 by considerin( a rin( to be a cylinder with an inner cylinder ct
ot of it! /"I>T: The rin( is of niform density! Be carefl abot sin( the appropriate masses!1
I! Dhow that E+! /:1 can be derived startin( with - I& instead of the 4aw of Conservation of
Ener(y as was done here!
.