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Demos: 1M-07 Drop or Spin

Start the demonstration by asking which wheel will hit the floor first, or will they hit the floor at the same time when dropped? The wheel whose axis is attached to the string (the one on the right) or the wheel who’s string is wrapped around the axis (the one held in the picture). The idea for this demonstration comes from an I-clicker question from a Physics 172 lecture. After asking the question, release the wheel and observe the results. The correct answer is the wheel with the string attached, not wound will hit the floor first. The reason? The potential energy for this wheel is converted to linear kinetic energy. For the wound wheel, its potential energy is converted to linear and rotational kinetic energy. Consequently it falls slower.

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Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023 11:25 AM

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