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Objective: Moment of Inertia by Inquiry

Description: Students experimentally determine the moment of inertia of six different objects (2 solid spheres, 2 solid discs, and 2 rings) by rolling them down a ramp. They then compare their experimentally determined values to the theoretical values which they calculate themselves.


2 solid spheres

2 solid discs

2 rings

(note that these items can be purchased as a group set through lab supply vendors, or you may create your own)


meter stick




Students develop their own procedures for this lab. Note that the students can take one of two paths to determining the moment of inertia of the rolling objects... both result in the same values if derived carefully, and each is a good reinforcement of key concepts students have been studying up to this point in the class.

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