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Top Lab


baseball00

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The Engineering design process is a series of steps that engineers go through to create a product of some sort. The process can be very repetitive at times while going through a process of trial and error. The lab that we did in class demonstrated the engineering design process. We were given two paper plates, six pennies, a pencil, and tape to create a spinning top. First we came up with an idea that we thought might work so we constructed a top that had a pencil through the center of a plate with six penny's evenly spaced around the plate but not to the edge. The plate was at about the center of the pencil. This failed because the plate was not stable enough on the pencil so we added the other plate to the bottom of the first plate to stabilize it a little more. We also lowered the location of the plate to be more toward the bottom of the pencil. This would decrease the wobbling because there would be less torque on the pencil if there is a smaller distance since Torque is the cross product of F * r. These two adjustments improved the top but it still was not spinning perfectly. Something that would have made it spin a lot better would be to shorten the length of the pencil. This would have gotten rid of the weight at the top of the pencil to decrease the net torque even more.

Moment of inertia was a big part of this lab because moment of inertia is an object's resistance to rotational acceleration. An object with the least possible moment of inertia would be the most successful. 

Angular momentum was also a very important part of this lab because angular momentum describes how difficult it is to stop a rotating object. Therefore, an object with the greatest angular momentum would be very successful in this lab because it would take a lot of torque to change it. 

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