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Homework Help: Two balls on a rotating disk.

  1. May 2, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data


    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution
    I thought that since the moment of inertia was larger for the ball on the outside its angular speed would be slower. So then it would take longer to hit the wall.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2012 #2
    You're missing something important in this question which is the difference between angular velocity (rad/s) and linear velocity (m/s). You don't need to be using angular momentum/moment of inertia.

    Using ω is right while the girls are holding the ball, but when it is let go when it hits the wall depends on v, which is related to ω by some geometric considerations. If you notice, the two girls are sitting in a straight line with each other, one further out than the other, and they are always in that straight line, meaning that the girl further out has to travel further than the girl on the inside in the same amount of time. What can you figure from that?
  4. May 2, 2012 #3
    I was thinking about that before, but I thought it would be strange if the ball on the outside traveled faster than the ball on the inside. So, I assumed they were traveling at the same speed.
  5. May 2, 2012 #4
    Their ω is no doubt equal, they're both going through the same amount of radians as the other in the same time.

    The problem is with arc lengths though--which is equal to θr (make sure θ is in radians). The girl on the outside moves further in the same amount of time, so the ball is actually moving faster.

    Physics gets weird when things start rotating.
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