Physics 101- Introduction to Mechanics
April 17- Angular Momentum






  Applications of Conservation of Angular Momentum

A 4.5 m diameter merry-go-round of mass 170 kg is rotating freely with an angular velocity of 0.70 rad/ sec.  Four people standing on the ground, each of mass 65 kg, suddenly step onto the edge of the merry-go-round.  What will be the angular velocity of the merry-go-round now?

Two astronauts of roughly equal mass are floating in space.  They both hold onto a light rod 20m long and the whole system is rotating about the center of the rod about once every 30s.  What is the ordinary (linear) speed of each astronaut?

Now imagine that the astronauts pull themselves along the rod until they are 10m apart.  What is their ordinary (linear) speed now?  Where do you think that their increased kinetic energy came from?


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Jeff Phillips
Loyola Marymount University
Spring 2002