Thursday, November 15, 2007

AP Physics Exam Resources- Two Questions (MCQ) on Moment of Inertia

Multiple choice questions discussed on this site will be useful for entrance examinations for admission to various degree courses including professional courses. They will be suitable for those preparing for AP Physics Examination, as can be judged by working out the following two questions:

(1) Three circular discs of radii R, R and 2R are cut from a metallic sheet of uniform thickness and the smaller discs are placed symmetrically on the larger disc as shown in the figure. If the mass of a smaller disc is M, the moment of inertia of the system about an axis at right angles to the plane of the discs and passing through the centre of the larger disc is

(a) 5MR2 (b) 7MR2 (c) 9MR2

(d) 11MR2 (e) 12MR2

The mass of the larger disc is 4M (since its radius is twice that of the smaller disc) and its moment of inertia is (4M)×(2R)2/2 = 8MR2.

The moment of inertia of each smaller disc about the axis passing through the centre of the larger disc (as given by the parallel axis theorem) is MR2/2 + MR2 = 3MR2/2.

Note that the moment of inertia is a scalar quantity. Therefore, the total moment of inertia of the system of three discs is 8MR2 + 2×3MR2/2 = 11MR2.

(2) A small body of regular shape made of iron rolls up with an initial velocity ‘v’ along an inclined plane. It reaches a maximum height of 7v2/10g where ‘g’ is the acceleration due to gravity. The body is a

(a) ring (b) disc (c) solid sphere

(d) hollow sphere (e) cylindrical rod

The initial kinetic energy of the body is ½ Mv2 + ½ I ω2 where M is its mass and I is its moment of inertia about its axis (of rolling). The first term is its translational kinetic energy and the second term is its rotational kinetic energy.

Since the entire kinetic energy is used in gaining gravitational potential energy, we have

½ Mv2 + ½ I ω2 = Mgh where ‘h’ is the maximum height reached.

Therefore, ½ Mv2 + ½ I v2/R2 = Mg×7v2/10g, from which

I = (2/5)MR2.

The body is therefore a solid sphere.

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