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Since the moment of inertia of an ordinary object involves a continuous distribution of mass at a continually varying distance from any rotation axis, the calculation of moments of inertia generally involves calculus, the discipline of mathematics which can handle such continuous variables. Since the moment of inertia of a point mass is defined by

then the moment of inertia contribution by an infinitesmal mass element dm has the same form. This kind of mass element is called a differential element of mass and its moment of inertia is given by

Note that the differential element of moment of inertia dI must always be defined with respect to a specific rotation axis. The sum over all these mass elements is called an integral over the mass.

Usually, the mass element dm will be expressed in terms of the geometry of the object, so that the integration can be carried out over the object as a whole (for example, over a long uniform rod). Having called this a general form, it is probably appropriate to point out that it is a general form only for axes which may be called "principal axes", a term which includes all axes of symmetry of objects. The concept of moment of inertia for general objects about arbitrary axes is a much more complicated subject. The moment of inertia in such cases takes the form of a mathematical tensor quantity which requires nine components to completely define it.

So two bodies of the same mass may possess different moments of inertia. The moment of inertia of a body is not only related to its mass but also the distribution of the mass throughout the body. Figure 1 As shown in [1]. moment of inertia is equal to mass times square of the distance and it is also referred to as the second mass moment.Moment of Inertia of a Systems of Particles Newton's first law of motion says "A body maintains the current state of motion unless acted upon by an external force. See Center of Mass-System of Particles for the details. mr. A rigid body can be considered as a system of particles in which the relative positions of the particles do not change. This concept of first mass moment is normally used in deriving the center of mass of a system of particles or a rigid body. Expanding [1] for a system of particles: [2] Top Moment of Inertia of a Rigid Body . is called as the first mass moment. The moment of inertia of a single particle (I) can be expressed as [1] where m = the mass of the particle. and r = the shortest distance from the axis of rotation to the particle (Figure 1)." The measure of the inertia in the linear motion is the mass of the system and its angular counterpart is the so-called moment of inertia. Mass times distance.

Based on [2]. and n = the unit vector of the axis of rotation. the OXYZ system. Note here that the axis of rotation passes through the local reference frame. one can obtain the moment of inertia of a rigid by shown in Figure 2: Figure 2 [3] where ri = the position of particle i. Substituting [4] & [5] into [3] leads to . Let [4] and [5] where cosα . cosβ & cosγ = the three direction cosines of vector n to the XYZ system.

(See BSP Equations for the MOI equations of the typical geometric shapes commonly used in human body modeling. & Ixz are the products of inertia. the moment of inertia must be measured directly from the object. Rather. For a rigid body. Izx. Izy. . Iyx. it is difficult to compute them through integration. Iyy & Izz are called the moments of inertia while Ixy. one can use [8] to compute the moments and products of inertia. Iyz. the relative position of the particles do not change and one can write [7] as: [8] When the shape and the density distribution of the rigid body is precisely known.[6] where [7] Ixx.) Otherwise.

If the body has a irregular shape. See BSP Equations for the details.Physical Pendulum & Direct Measurement Unfortunately. the integration approach has not much use and a direct measurement must be attempted. m = the mass of the body. Ixx = MOI of the body about the X axis. it is assumed that the body segments show a group of geometric shapes such as ellipsoid of revolution. [20] and. elliptical solids. [21] Solving [21] for θ . For a small θ . Figure 6 The torque produced by the weight of the body about the X axis is then [19] where Tx = the torque about the X axis. In the mathematical human body models such as Hanavan (1964) and Yeadon (1990). thus. and L = the distance between the axis of rotation to the body's CM. Figure 6 shows a body with irregular shape which is rotating freely about an axis passing through its one end. the integration approach is possible only when the body has a known geometric shape. The X axis is the axis of rotation.81 m/s2). one obtains . α = angular acceleration. g = the gravitational acceleration (9. from [19]. the center of mass (CM) of the body moves within the YZ plane. and stadium solids.

after all. which passes through the CM of the body. T = the period of the pendulum. The MOI about the parallel axis. ε = the phase angle.[22] where θ o = the amplitude. the MOI of the body about the X axis. can be computed from the period of a small pendulum motion of the body. can be also computed based on the parallel-axis theorem: [23] . f = the frequency of the pendulum. As shown in [22].

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