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Physics Rotational mechanics
Motion of a top

Physics Rotational mechanics
Motion of a top

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Euler Equations

Euler Angles

HEAVY Symmetrical Top

1

I 0

0

2

0

0

3

is switched off

z; L 3 z

..(1)

to spin indefinitely about the same axis

with angular velocity

Gravity ON

Lets turn on the gravity causing a torque (make it weak..how?)

N R Mg

KEY Points:

Magnitude is RMgsin and direction normal to z and

axis of the top

Existence of N indicates that L STARTS to change

Change of L implies starts to change. Components

x and y cease to be zero, though small as torque is

weak and eq (1) remains a good approx.

L changes in direction but not in magnitude

L 3 z

Precession

Changing the arguments to mathematical expressions:

LN

z R Mg

3

Rz M gz

MgR z z

dz MgR

z z

dt 3

?????

Simple Physics

then its rate of change, as seen from

a fixed frame is:

dz

z

dt

The top-axis rotates about the

dz MgR

dt

3

z z

given by the bracketed term.

This is precession. Note

is in the denominator ! !

Consequence

The earth spins on its axis, much like a spinning top & the

axis of spin is inclined at an angle 230 from the normal to

the earths orbit around the sun. Because of earths bulge

at the equator, sun & moon exert small torques on earth &

the torques cause earths axis to precess slowly (one full

turn in 26000 yrs), tracing out a cone of angle 230 around

Euler Equations

The Euler equations are the equations of motion of a rotating

body like motion of a top

KEY:

Before we launch Eulers equation, there is a complication we

must now face up. To take advantage of principal axes, we like

to use those as our coordinate axes. But they are fixed in the

body and they rotate with the body and therefore noninertial !!

The way out is the following relation:

d

dt

fix

dt

rot

Euler Equations

d

dt

fix

dt

rot

dL

dt

x, y, z

fix

dL

dt

rot

Principal Axes

L1 I11 ;

L2 I 22

x

L 1

I

1 1

rot

2

I 22

L3 I 33

z

3

I 33

1 x

2 y

3 z

Euler Equations

Combining:

N1 I 1 1 I 3 I 2 23

N 2 I 2 2 I 1 I 3 31

N 3 I 3 3 I 2 I 1 12

Torque-free motion

For torque-free motion

I 1 1 I 3 I 2 23

I 2 2 I 1 I 3 31

I 3 3 I 2 I 1 12

Consider:

a) I 1

I2 I3

say z-prime at t = 0 1 2 0 at t = 0

The Consequence

I 1 1 I 3 I 2 23

I 2 2 I 1 I 3 31

I 3 3 I 2 I 1 12

This means, all components of remain constant. In other

words if the body starts rotating about one principal axis, it

will continue to do so with constant angular velocity

Q. If you give a tiny kick to the rigid body, what happens ????

use 3rd Euler eq. and consider small values of 1, 2

The Consequence

I 1 1 I 2 I 3 3 2

I 2 2 I 3 I 1 3 1

I 3 I 2 I 3 I 1 2

1

3 1

I1I 2

bracketed term is positive i.e. for the cases when I 3 I 1 , I 2

Transformation

The transformation from one coordinate system to another can

be represented by a matrix equation:

X X

Body system

Fixed system

The rotation matrix completely describes the relative orientation of the two

systems. For a rigid body, contains three independent angles, (,,).

We will see sequence of three rotations about three different axes allows to

take us from fixed axis to body axis

Euler Angles

Z

and hence perpendicular to ZOZ

This is called line of nodes

The Steps

Step 1: Rotate system about Z axis by

Z

X

cos sin 0

sin cos 0

0

0

1

The Steps

Step 2: Rotate the body thro about the new X, i.e. ON. OZ OZ

Z

0

1

0 cos

0 sin

sin

cos

The Steps

Step 3: Rotate about new Z axis i.e. about OZ by . ON OX and we

have come to the body system

Z

cos

sin

0

sin

cos

0

X X

X

0

1

Angles

We express the angular velocities x , y , z (about body

axes) in terms of , , . Cosines of the angles between the

components is given below:

Z

cos

sin

0

sin sin sin cos cos

0

0

1

Components

The components of these angular velocities along the body

set axes are:

y sin cos sin

z cos

of the principal axes.

of top is completely specified by the

Euler angles

Y

symmetry from the fixed point is l

X

body axes

Rotational Angles

of z-prime about z

Precession

keeping constant

the change in nutation

Solution

We take the Lagrangian route:

1

1

2

2

T I 1 x y I 3 z2 I 1 I 2 I 3

2

2

1 2

1

2

2

2

I 1 sin I 3 cos

2

2

...........1

V mgl cos

1 2

1

2

2

2

2

2

.......2

The Lagrangian

1 2

1

2

2

2

L I 1 sin I 3 cos mgl cos

2

2

Clearly, L is cyclic in and and does not depend on t explicitly

L

p

I1 sin 2 I 3 cos cos b

L

p

I 3 cos a

1 2

1

2

2

2

H I1 sin I 3 cos mgl cos E

2

2

Top Motion

A general rotational motion of the top is a combination of those

motions.in terms of a and b, we have

b a cos

..............3

2

I 1 sin

This means that if is known as a function of time, and hence

will be determined

u=cos and make little rearrangements,

Final Equations

2

au

2

E

a

2mglu

2

1 u 2

u

I1

I1 I1 I1 I 3

2mgl

b I 1 ; a I 1 ; 2 E I 1 a I 1 I 3 ;

I1

2

u u u 1 u 2

2

du

dt ;

f u

f u u 1 u u

2

Comments

du

dt ;

f u

f u u 1 u 2 u

f(u) is cubic in u and the integral is known as an elliptic

function which can be obtained by computation.

We are not going to do any computation. Instead we try to have

general idea of the shape of the things:

Looking into it

f u u 1 u 2 u

u=cos

forget that & consider for all values of u

a) As u , f(u) as the dominating term is +u3

b) When u = 1, only 2nd term in f(u) survives so that f(u) < 0,

unless

f(u) as a function of u

Plots

du

dt ;

f u

f u u 1 u 2 u

Hint f(u) must be non-negative in the domain where u

corresponds to real

f(u) has two zeros at u1 and u2 and between these values

of u (within 1), f u is real

So the motion will be limited between the corresponding

value of , i.e. 1 cos 1 u1 & 2 cos 1 u2 nutation

Apparent conclusion

Lets rewrite some useful equations;

du

dt ;

f u

b a cos

; I 3 cos a

2

I 1 sin

with given values of the constants , , and . Thus one has

again by

known as a function of t. Using this, 2nd eq yields

and suffices to determine

computation . Knowledge of

from the 3rd eq, so that , & are known for different times.

1) Top starts with only spin, no nutation or precession

0 and 0

b I1 ; a I1 ;

b a cos

b au0 u 0 u0

2

I 1 sin

Initial value of u

2

(Unless u0 = 0)

u 2 u u 1 u 2

u0 u u0 u 1 u 2

2

More Physics

PE << KE (or equivalently total E) FAST TOP

I1

V mgl cos mgl

2

2

2 2

1

a

I

2

1

T I 3

2

2I3

2I3

I1

I 12 2

2 I1

2

2

2I3

I3

I1 I 3 1

Fast Top

u u0 u u0 u 1 u 2

2

vanishes for

Obviously, u

0 u0 u1 u0 u1 1 u12

2

1u

u u

2

1

u1 u0

2

a very small region of

Without much error, one can write,

1 u 2 1 u02 sin 2 0

u u0 u u0 u 1 u

2

u0 u u0 u sin 2 0

2

sin

sin

0

2

0

u0 u

2

2

2

4

4

sin

sin

2

2

u u

u u

2

2

4

2

4

sin

2

2

2

u u u

42

4

d

sin

2

2

u u u u

2

4

dt

about the mean value u^bar with period 2/. The time period of

the nutation motion is given by:

2I 1

T

I 3 z

I 3 cos a

a I1

Conclusion

2I 1

T

I 3 z

1. For the fast top, nutation is a SHM with small spread of value

of u.

2. T varies inversely as spin velocity. If latter is large, T will be small

correspondingly. Thus the nutational range is small and takes

place rapidly so one would hardly be able to observe it. One then

would think that there is no nutation at all and the motion is termed

it as pseudo-regular precession.

Top starts with its axis vertical u0 = 1 and continues

SLEEPING TOP

u u u 1 u 2

2

1 u 2 1 u

2

f(u) vs u curve would look like..????

f(u) vs u curve

One can argue that curve II not curve I is the sleeping top

Argument

With curve I, 3rd root of f(u) corresponds to real , say 1, so the top may

have a nutational motion between 1 and 0 but for curve II 3rd root give an

imaginary and f(u)>0 only for u=1 so the motion is restricted to u=1,

there is no nutation, nor even at precession but simply the top goes on

spinning with its axis vertical. Such a motion is called a sleeping motion

Mathematical Condition

Condition: 3rd root of f(u)=0 must occur at u1>1

2

u 2 1 u 2 1 u

2

1 u1

2

I 32 2 4 mgl

z 2

I1

I1

4 mglI 1

Condition to sleep: z

I 32

Wake up

Q. Does a top wake up some time?

A. The top does wake up. This is because the frictional

force cause a dissipation of the KE so that spin velocity

value 4 mglI 1 I 32 . The sleeping motion can then no

longer go on, nutation and precession set in

Problem

Find the torque needed to rotate a rectangular plate of length

b and breadth a about a diagonal with constant

b

x x y y 0 z

x

.x x . y y

a

y

1 0 2

M b 2 a 2 ab

N3 0

z

2

2

12 a b

a

a2 b2

b

a2 b2

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