LabRat Statics and Dynamics Page

1. Newton's Laws of Motion -

Newton's Three Laws of Motion are very important in understanding why and how things move. By applying these concepts, engineers and scientists can predict how a rocket will fly or how the planets move. This module provides various insights, example problems, and experiments to reinforce Newton's concepts of motion:

2. Free Falling Body -

This module takes a practical look at Newton's Laws and applies them to the simple case of a free falling object. It also includes a simple spreadsheet that can be used to predict the "one-degree of freedom" motion of a free falling object:

3. Projectile Motion -

Projectile motion is a "2-degree of freedom" problem that is governed by Newton's Laws of Motion. In this case, the pojectile is moving in both the horizontal and vertical planes - hence 2-DOF... This module provides useful insights into this simple dynamics problem and also provides a spreadsheet simulation that can predict the motion of a simple projectile:

4. Rolling Friction -

Friction results in a resistance to motion. While we usually consider friction as undesirable, without it cars would just spin their tires and it would be impossible to walk. Wheels can help reduce friction, but it wont eliminate it. This module investigates friction and its effect on rolling objects. The companion video shows how rolling friction:

5. Moment of Inertia -

Inertia is a property of matter and it results in a resistance to a change in motion. The Moment of Inertia (a.k.a. Rotational Inertia) is a resistance to a change in rotational motion. As an example, a heavy baseball bat is harder to swing than a lighter one due to the higher rotational inertia. This module provides some valuable insights on the concept of moment of inertia and how it can be measured using a simple home-made Bifilar Pendulum:

6. Angular Momentum -

When an object rotates at some given rate it posesses angular momentum. Under ideal circumstances where the spinning object is unaffected by external torques, as the rotational radius decreases the rotation rate increases in order to maintain a constant angluar momentum. A reasonable (but not perfect) example is when a spinning ice skater extends her arms - as she does, her spin rate slows down. This is a "non-ideal" example because the friction of her skates create a external torque, but due to the low friction of the ice the torque is low - hence it's a reasoanble example. This module provides some insights into Angluar Momentum and the companion video shows an experiment demonstrating the concept of Conservation of Angular Momentum:

7. Gyroscopes -

Gyroscopic motion can be very interesting and very complicated. This module provides some basic insights on how gyros work and the basic physics involved:

8. Pendulum Motion -

Pendulum Motion is one of the simplest forms of periodic motion. This module provides some basic insights on potential energy, kinetic energy and the period of oscillation of a simple pendulum and the assocated governing equations:

9. Structural Analysis -

A big part of engineering involves the analysis of designs. In the structural and civil engineering world truss structures are very important. Trusses are used in large buildings, bridges, and even in your house and they are used to transfer loads to supporting structures such as walls or piers. It is important to understand how the loads are carried by the truss structures and engineers can employ several methods to analyze them:

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