• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

Mass and Moment of Inertia of a Planet

  • Thread starter guru_to_be
  • Start date
1. Homework Statement
There is a gaseous spherical planet with a nonconstant density rho(r) = rho_o (1 - r / R), where rho_0 is the maximum density attained at the planet's core, R is the radius of the planet, and r is the distance from the center of the planet.
Use calculus to find the total mass of the planet in terms of rho_0 and R. Then find the moment of inertia of the planet in terms of its total mass M and R.


2. Homework Equations



3. The Attempt at a Solution

I found the Mass of the planet as (rho_o * pi *R3)/3

I integrated thin spherical shells to find the total mass using the integral - 4piR2dr*density

Then I found average density as rho_o/4

Now, I am using the integration of thin solid disks to find teh moment of inertia of the sphere...which comes out to be 8/15 * density*pi R5

If we substitute the averahe density in terms of M in the above equation, the answer comes out to be 2/5 * M*R2 but I think the correct answer is 4/15*M*R2

Can anyone tell me if I am correct or am I doing something wrong
 

Dick

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
26,258
618
You can't use the average density to find the moment of inertia. rho_0*pi*R^3/3 is the mass all right. To get the moment of inertia, I used that the moment of inertia of a hollow sphere is (2/3)*m(r)*r^2. m(r)=rho(r)*4*pi*r^2*dr. Integrating the whole thing does give (4/15)*M*R^2. It would be tough to use disks, since they don't have uniform density.
 
Thanks

I got it. I guess I was too impatient to think clearly :)
 

Related Threads for: Mass and Moment of Inertia of a Planet

Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
5K
Replies
9
Views
6K
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Posted
Replies
4
Views
6K
  • Posted
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Posted
Replies
1
Views
1K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top