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B Converting Rotation to Translation?

  1. Aug 25, 2016 #1
    **I am an extreme amateur when it comes to physics, so please forgive me if I use the wrong terminology or my description is incomplete**

    My washing machine always seems to get out of balance and "walk" across the room during the spin cycle, which led me to think up the following scenario:

    Suppose I am standing on a skateboard holding a bicycle wheel at its axis, but the bicycle wheel is extremely unbalanced. I spin up the bicycle wheel, which wobbles violently in my hands. If I push out of phase against the wobble, will I accelerate on the skateboard?

    Fundamentally, I suppose I am asking if it is possible to convert angular momentum into linear momentum. Why or why not is this possible?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    It's not possible if there is no friction with the environment (your skateboard example). If you have friction or air resistance, it's straightforward.
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