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Rolling wheel problem

  1. Nov 15, 2008 #1
    i have a problem regarding rolling wheels. ihave a double wheel rim connected by spokes, which is in perfect balance, with two baskets hanging between them, on opposite sides of the wheel, such that when a weight is added to the top basket the wheel will rotate, dropping the basket at the bottom and continuing until it angular momentum runs out (177 feet is the furthest distance achieved!)

    i would like to know how i can calculate the theoretical maximum distance i should be able to get. i can work out the angular velocity and the moment of inertia, but i am lost as to what to do next, any guidance would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2008 #2


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    My guess: It will keep going forever unless you take into account friction.
  4. Nov 16, 2008 #3
    ahh, unfortunately i do not have any grounding in physics (bar what my internet research has taught me!). I know that friction is what is going to bring the wheel to a halt, but i dont know how to work out what the friction is. i assume that once i know the friction, i can use it with the angular momentum to calculate the max possible distance??

    i tried to find the rolling coefficient of friction for wood on concrete but did not have any luck

    i am not even sure how much work is being applied to the wheel
    the weight produces a force, which unbalances the wheel, straight down, producing horizontal movement, so how can i work out how much work/power i am getting from it?

    just some formulea would be helpfull, i can directly observe lots of things, like the mass, radius, contact surface area ect, i just need to know how i can fit it all together!!!
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
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