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Circular Motion

Now we shall discuss another example of two-dimensional motion that is motion of a particle on a circular path. This type of motion is called circular motion. Consider a particle P is moving on circle of radius r on X-Y plane with origin O as centre.

The position of the particle at a given instant may be described by angle , called angular position of the particle, measured in radian. As the particle moves on the path, its angular position changes. The rate of change of a ngular position is called angular velocity, , measured in radian per second. = limt0 /t = d/dt = ds/rdt = v/r The rate of change of angular velocity is called angular acceleration, measured in rad/s2. Thus, the angular acceleration is = d/dt = d2/dt2 Relation between These Parameters It is easy to derive the equations of rotational kinematics for the case of constant angular acceleration with fixed axis of rotation. These equations are of the same form as those for on-dimensional transitional motion. = 0 + t = 0 + 0t + t2/2 2 = 02 + 2 ( - 0) = 0 + (0 + )/(2t) ............ (i) ............ (ii) ............ (iii) ............ (iv)

Here, 0 is the initial angle and 0 is the initial angular speed.



What is the angular velocity of the minute and hour hands of a clock?

(b) Suppose the clock starts malfunctioning at 7 AM which decelerates the minute hand at the rate of 4 radians/day. How much time would the clock loose by 7 AM next day? Solution: (a) Angular speed of

minute hand : mh = 2 rad/hr = 48 rad/day = (/1800) rad/sec hour hand : hh = (/6) rad/hr = 4 rad/day = (/21600) rad/sec (b) Assume at t = 0, 0 = 0, when the clock begins to malfunction.

Use equation (ii) to get the angle covered by the minute hand in one day. So, = 0(1 day) 1/2(1 day)2 = 46 rad

Hence the minute hand complete 23 revolutions, so the clock losses 1 hour.

Illustration: A particle is rotating in a circular path having initial angular velocity 5 rad/sec and the angular acceleration = 0.5 , where is angular velocity at that instant. Find the angular velocity, after it moved an angle ? Solution: Here angular acceleration is = 0.5 => d/dt = 0.5 => (d/d) (d/dt) = 0.5 => d/d = 0.5 => => - 5 = 0.5 => = 5 + 0.5 = 6.57 rad/sec. Ans.

Hence, when acceleration is not constant, use the method of calculus as shown in above illustration.

Motion of a particle in a circular path It is a special kind of two-dimensional motion in which the particle's position vector always lies on the circumference of a circle. In order to calculate the acceleration parameter it is helpful to first consider circular motion with constant speed, called uniform circular motion. Let there be a particle moving along a circle of radius r with a velocity , as shown in figure given below, such that | | = v = constant

For this particle, it is our aim to calculate the magnitude and direction of its acceleration. We know that

Now, we have to find an expression for in terms of known quantities. For this, consider the particle velocity vector at two points A and B. Displacing B, parallel to itself and placing it back to back with A, as shown in figure given below. We have

Consider AOB, angle between OA and OB is same as angle between A and because A is perpendicular to vector OA and B is also perpendicular to vector OB. OB = OA = r and |



A, B

.. ..

AOB is similar to the triangle formed by From geometry we have, v/v = AB/r Now AB is approximately equal to vt.


.. In | the limit t








| = limt 0

/t = v /r is instantaneously along a is called radial or

This is the magnitude of the acceleration. The direction

radius inward towards the centre of the circle, because of this centripetal acceleration.

Think: The acceleration vector of a particle in uniform circular motion averaged over one cycle is a null vector. Illustration: The moon revolved about the earth making a complete revolution in 2.36 mega second. Assume that the orbit is circular and has a radius of 385 mega meter. What is the magnitude of the acceleration of the moon towards the earth? Solution: Here first of all we calculate speed v of the moon which is given by v = 2R/T where R = 385 mega meter = 385 106 m and T = 2.36 mega second = 2.36 106 sec. Hence v = 1020 m/sec. The magnitude of centripetal acceleration is a = v2/R = 0.00273 m/sec2. Ans.

In the previous enquiry we have discussed the uniform circular motion in which the particle has constant speed. If the particle's speed varies with time then the motion will be no more uniform but a non-uniform circular motion. Let us discuss about this motion using the concept of vectors.

Non uniform circular motion Let us use the vector method to discuss non-uniform circular motion. Refer to figure 2.30, r and are unit vectors along radius and tangent vector respectively. In terms of er and e the motion of a particle moving counter clockwise in a circle about the origin in figure 2.30 can be described be the vector equation.

= e v In this case, not only but v also varies with time. We can obtain instantaneous acceleration as, =(d )/dt =

d/dt + v(d



: = aT Where aT= dv/dt and aR = v2/r

(d )/dt 2 er v /r = aT

2 rv /r r


The first term, aT, is the vector component of that is tangential to the path of the particle and arises from a change in the magnitude of the velocity in circular motion, called tangential acceleration whereas aR centripetal acceleration. The magnitude of | | = (a T+a Illustration:
2 2 N

is )

Point A travels along an arc of a circle of radius r as shown in figure given below. Its velocity depends on the arc coordinates l as v = A l where A is a constant. Let us calculate the angle between the vectors of the total acceleration and of the velocity of the point as a function of the coordinate l.

Solution: It is seen from figure shown above that the angle can be found by means of the formula tan = aR/aT. Let us find aR and aT. aR = v2/r=(A2 l)/r; aT= dv/dt = dv/dl = A/(2l)Al = A2/2 Hence tan = 2l/r.