Rotational Motion
Objective
The purpose of this experiment was to investigate the relationship between torque, angular
acceleration, and moment of inertia for a rigid body rotating about a fixed axis. We also
examined conservation of angular momentum. In order to examine the theory of the conservation
of momentum (in this case, angular momentum), we used a rotary motion sensor, equipped with
two pulleys with differing diameters, as well as a This week’s experiment is set up in order to
quantify the theory of conservation of momentum, angular momentum in particular. We will be
using a rotary motion sensor (RMS), which has a 3-step pulley with two brass weights of
differing masses mounted to it. This apparatus allowed us to change the moment of inertia of the
pulley as well as enabled us to test the numerous shapes of the objects and determine whether or
not the theory is followed.
Theory
In order to derive the equation for a particle moving in a circle, it is important to consider a point
mass
m
that moves in a circle of radius
r.
Its circular motion may speed up or slow down due to a
net force of
F
acting on
m,
in accordance to Newton’s 2
nd
law which states that
F =ma
(where
a
is the acceleration). For a convenient way to express this relationship at any instant of time, the
equation can be written to express the direction of the velocity, or tangential to the circle at the
point where the mass is. This way, the component of the force in that direction can be F
tan
, where
tan
denotes the component of the force that is tangent to the velocity of the mass

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