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Torque due to static friction on a rolling object

  1. Apr 30, 2012 #1
    I'm looking over my notes here, we have a rolling disk down an incline plane and my goal is to find its acceleration in terms of its moment of inertia

    My dilemma is, when finding the torque, I look at all 3 of the forces influencing it (normal, gravity, and the f_s). The n goes through the instantaneous axis of revolution so its torque on the disk is 0, I can see the gravity's torque is mgsinθ, but I don't see why the f_s has 0 torque, even though it is perpendicular to the instantaneous axis of revolution.

    Is the reason that the F_s force goes through the axis, therefore its torque on the object is 0?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2012 #2
    If the disc starts turning as it rolls down the inclined plane, there has to be torque. In order to get torque, the disc has to accelerate down the ramp.

    The force pressing the disc against the incline is mg cos(θ), which gets smaller as the incline gets steeper. The force pushing the centroid of disc down the incline plane is mg sin(θ) which gets larger as the incline gets steeper. There is an angle at which the disc starts to slip rather than roll without slipping.
  4. Apr 30, 2012 #3
    I'm not sure if that is what I was looking for??
  5. May 1, 2012 #4


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    Yes, any force through a point has no moment about that point. The only one of the three forces with a moment about the point of contact is gravity.
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