Exploration 11.5: Conservation of Angular Momentum

m = kg

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

A man is standing beside a 150-kg merry-go-round and suddenly drops a red object onto the merry-go-round (position is given in meters and time is given in seconds). You may change the mass of the object dropped on the merry-go-round and assume that the merry-go-round is a solid, uniform disk. Restart.

  1. What happens to the final angular velocity of the merry-go-round when a heavier object is dropped onto it?

  2. Is there a mass that you can add to make the final angular velocity exactly half of the initial angular velocity? If so, what is it?

  3. How do your answers to (a) and (b) relate to the conservation of angular momentum?

Exploration authored by Mario Belloni and Wolfgang Christian.
HTML updated for JavaScript by Ricky Davidson.
Physlets were developed at Davidson College and converted from Java to JavaScript using the SwingJS system developed at St. Olaf College.