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A stick in space

  1. Sep 7, 2013 #1


    User Avatar

    If there is a stick in space and you provide an impulse on one end of the stick, then will it rotate or will it simply undergo translational motion in a straight line?

    If you have the stick on earth on top of a surface then it will rotate about its centre of mass which acts as the pivot. However in space, in the absence of a gravitational field or friction I'd imagine that there is no obvious pivot point which means that the stick will just travel in a straight line in the direction the impulse was in. Am I right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    It will rotate. You have provided both a force and a torque, so it will rotate. Also, objects still have a center of mass, even if they are not in a gravitational field.
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