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Homework Help: Moment of inertia spinning disk integration

  1. Oct 17, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I want to calculate the moment of inertia of a spinning disk via integration. I'm aware of the perpedicular axis theorem, but I want to integrate.

    2. Relevant equations
    I = ∫r^2dm

    3. The attempt at a solution

    if I set my coordinate axis op so that the origin of the xy plane lies in the center of my disk, and I decide to rotate the disk about the x axis, then I figure r in this case is equal to y and I integrate along the x axis from -R to R.

    So I set up ∫∫y^2dydx, which I can change to ∫∫r*y^2drdθ. y = rsin(θ), so

    ∫∫r^3*sin(θ)^2drdθ, where the limits of integration are 0< r < 2R (R = max radius), 0 < θ < 2PI

    I look up the integral of sin(x) and I get x/2 - sin(2x), so I think my answer to this integral should be (PI/2)R^4. Of course the answer should be (PI/4)R^4. I don't understand what I did wrong. I think I know how to integrate so I assume something is wrong with my set-up.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2012 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Hi ShamelessGit! :smile:

    (try using the X2 button just above the Reply box :wink:)
    no, 0 < r < R :wink:

    not following this :confused:

    can you show your working?​

    (btw, learn your trigonometric identities … sin2x = (1 - cos2x)/2, which is easier! :smile:)
  4. Oct 19, 2012 #3
    I made a typo when I was giving the limits of integration. The way I set it up the limit of integration for r should be -r to r.

    And also I figured out that when I integrate properly, I do get the right answer.

    The mistake I made was that I changed y to sqrt(R^2-x^2) in my original calculation before realizing that that was unnecessary, and when I changed it back I got r*R^2 instead of r^3 because I got confused about which R was a constant and which was a variable. So I got R to the right power, but of course I got a factor of 1/2 instead of 1/4.
  5. Oct 19, 2012 #4
    I made a type when trying to fix the previous typo. Yes the limit is only from 0 to r. Srry about that. I didn't make that mistake on the paper when I was actually trying to integrate
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