How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 64

Is a spinning toy top a perfect example of angular momentum?
Yes. If you spinning it about a vertical axis (so that gravity doesn't exert a torque on it about its point), it will spin at a steady angular velocity almost indefinitely. Sliding friction does slow it gradually but if the point is very sharp, sliding friction there exerts very little torque on the top about its rotational axis. Because it's unable to exert a torque on the ground, the top can't exchange angular momentum with the earth. It spins on until it slowly gets rid of its angular momentum through sliding friction and air resistance.

Copyright 1997-2018 © Louis A. Bloomfield, All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy