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Homework Help: Rotational energy and flywheels

  1. Apr 21, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Hey guys I have two questions. The first one i'm not sure, while the second one, I have some idea but don't know how to proceed with answering the question.

    1. A rapidly spinning flywheel has been suggested as an energy storage mechanism for cars. Let's consider a 300kg uniform disk flywheel of diameter of 0.5m spinning at 100 rotations per second. Find the energy stored in the spinning flywheel. How higha hill could the 1000kg car (including the flywheel) climb with this energy?

    2. Calculate the force on a 1kg chunk of metal near the edge of the disk.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution


    The total mass of the car is 1000kg which includes the flywheels. In total there are 4 flywheels on the car. So the mass of the car is distributed among the 4 wheels.

    M=1000/4=250kg (per wheel)

    Using the third equation,
    This is the energy for one wheel. Therefore, the total energy of the 4 wheel is 4*1540562.5=6162250J.

    Using conservation of energy (last equation) 6162250=250*9.8*h.
    Solving for h: h=6162250/(250*9.8)=2515m


    For this question, I know that I have to find the tangential force, but, how would i start? Is the tangential force a component of centripetal force???

    Many thanks :D
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2013 #2


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    1. You have this wrong. The mass of the flywheel is stated in the problem as 300kg. It only mentions one flywheel so I've no idea why you are assuming there are four 250kg flywheels?

    Use your equation to work out the energy stored in that one 300kg flywheel.

    The total car weight is given as 1000kg. Write an equation for the energy required to raise that much mass by height h. Assume all the energy stored in that one 300kg flywheel is converted into raising the car and solve for h.

    2. You are making it more complicated than it is. The answer is just the centripetal force. Imagine you have a 1kg mass on a string of length =0.5m rotating at ω. What is the centripetal force (aka tension in the string).
  4. Apr 21, 2013 #3


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    Seems to be a confusion between flywheels and roadwheels.
  5. Apr 29, 2013 #4
    Sorry for the late reply, many thanks for your input!!
    Ahhh yes, googled "flywheels", turned out to be some wheel under a car storing energy. Got confused with flywheels being the tyres haha :D
  6. Apr 29, 2013 #5


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    Obviously not an F1 fan :-)
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