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6.1 (a) Comment and justify on the motion of the spindle assembly as the ‘point’ mass is moved
Comment on the experimental value :
R (mm) t average (s) I exp x 10 -3 (kgm 2 )
275 0.4760 65.858
225 0.4033 47.277
175 0.3313 31.904
125 0.2820 23.115
75 0.2270 14.978

Based on the value obtained from the Rotating Mass Assembly, as the distance r become
smaller, the spindle spins faster, the final velocity and the linear acceleration of the applied
mass become larger, Hence the spindle spins with a larger angular acceleration which means it
possess a lower resistance to the rotational motion when the masses are moved inward.Thus
the moment of inertia of the system become smaller when the masses are moved inward.

Theoretically, The moment of the inertia is reduced as the r value becomes smaller. It is justified by the
derivation below:
Is decreased proportionally with r 2 , So according to the equation T=mgrs=Isα, the angular
acceleration increased proportionally with the decreasing r 2
It justifies the phenomenon observed and the value obtained from the experiment.

6.1 (b) Plot the graphs of Iexp vs r2 for both the point mass and the thin disc. What are the
equations of the lines?

(I) For graph of ‘point’ mass, according to the linear regression theory,the
coefficient b (the slope of the line) and the intercept is calculated with:

The equation of graph of ‘point’ mass is Iexp = 0.72137 r2 + 10.927

(II) For graph of cylindrical disc,

The equation of graph of cylindrical disc is Iexp = 2.466 r2 + 21.3

6.1 (c) From the graph, what is the value of Ic?

From the graphs, the value of Ic for ‘point’ mass is 0.0109 kg m2

while the value of Ic for cylindrical disc is 0.0213 kg m2.

6.1 (d) Determine and discuss the percent discrepancy between the slope of the line and the sum of the
two masses (2M) ?
For point mass setup:

Sum of the two masses (ML + MR) = 0.24687 + 0.24713

= 0.494 kg
Experimental Value of 2M is the slope=0.721kg

percent discrepancy = (0.721 – 0.494)/ 0.494 x 100%

= 46 %
For the cylindrical setup:

Sum of two masses (ML + MR)=0.84755+0.84192

=1.68947 kg
Percent discrepancy =(2.466-1.69)/1.69 x 100%

The percent discrepancy here is so large because:

1.static frictional forces exerted on the pulley reduced the effective torque which should have
been exerted on the spindle.Each time we change the distance r, the magnitude of the force is
different(as indicated in Appendix B, with respect to the pulley: (F1-F2)r p=Ipαp, and α is
changed each time),which cause a further inconsistency in the experimental value.

2.internal friction of the rotating spindle(discussed in 6.2(c)) , the frictional force acting on the
spindle reduce the effective torque exerted by F2.

The above frictional forces cause the effect that is equivalent to increasing the moment of
inertia of the system. Hence the Iexp becomes larger.

3.errors in length and time measurements which cause an uncertainty in value y and t.

4.we consider the geometric centre of the masses coincide with the real C.G in both experiments
by assuming an uniform density distribution in the ‘point mass’

5.In the cylindrical disc experiment, the discs tend to incline while it’s rotating, which increase the
value of r as the r has an additional vertical component.Thus, the experiment results tend to be
6.1 (e) Can the thin disc be treated as ‘point’ mass ? How would you determine it's mass?

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(I)The thin disc can not be treated as ‘point’ mass according to the parallel axis theorem:

The axis penetrating through the centre of the disc is parallel to the fixed axis(spindle), hence the
effective moment of inertia of one disc is: I Z = I G + md 2
=mR 2 + mr 2 (R is the radius of the thin disc)
The moment of inertia of the system should be I = 2 m r 2 + mR 2 + I c .

If we simply consider the thin disc as ‘point mass’ located at the geometric centre of the disc, the
moment of inertia will be I = 2 m r 2 + I c . causing a considerable error of mR 2
m1 + m2
The value of this loss is approximately × R 2 = 0.8447 × 0.1015 2 = 8.7 × 10 −3 kgm 2
This will be explained in more detail in 6.2(b).

(II)Although the thin disc can’t be treated as point mass in this experiment, we can use the
I = 2 m r 2 + mR 2 + I c
to calculate the mass of the disc using the same experiment because the slope is not affected by the
spread of mass. We can move the discs at different position along the bar , use the same experimental
methods to find the Iexp values for thin disc, We again plot the graph of Iexp vs r2
The gradient of the graph represents the total mass of the 2 thin disc, we get the mass of one disc y
dividing the gradient by 2.

6.1 (f) Compare and comment on the experimental values from the bifilar/trifilar setup with the
theoretical results using the equations in Appendix A.

The theoetical value of the moment of inertia of the cylinder is mcyl R12 = 7.6375 × 10 −3
The theoetical value of the moment of inertia of the ring is

percent discrepancy for I value of cylinder = (7.88 - 7.6375) x 10 - 3 x 100%

7.6375 x 10 - 3

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= 3.175 %

percent discrepancy for I value of ring = (28.3 - 25.948) x 10 - 3 x 100%

25.948 x 10 - 3

= 9.064 %
The discrepancy here is due to:

1.By assuming the platform is displaced through a small angle, we use an approximation sin φ ≈ φ in
this experiment, however, the angular displacement was not that small when we performed the
experiment, and the error becomes more and more significant when the φ value becomes larger.

2.We may not be controlling the stopwatch accurately enough to record the exact time required
for 10 times of oscillations due to human reaction and judgement.

6.2 For Formal Report Only

(a) Calculate the moments of inertia of spindle assembly (Ih + Iv) and compare it with the
experimental value Ic , and discuss the reason of the difference.

The dimensions of the spindle is drawn below:

Total Volume of spindle = V1 + V2 + V3

= πr12h1 + πr22h2 + πr32h3
= π( 15 2 x 150 + 10 2 x 58 + 8 2 x 20) mm 3
= 1.282 x 10 - 4 m 3

Total mass of spindle = 0.32628 kg

the density of the spindle: ρ = 0.32628 / 1.282 x 10 - 4
= 2545.1 kg m 3

m 1 = ρV1 = 0.2697 kg
m 2 = ρV2 = 0.0463 kg
m 3 = ρV3 = 0.0102 kg

Moment of inertia of the verticle spindle about the rotating axis:

Iv = ( m 1 r 1 2 + m 2 r 2 2 + m 3 r 3 2 ) / 2
= ( 0.2697 x 0.015 2 + 0.0463 x 0.010 2 + 0.0102 x 0.008 2 ) / 2
= 3.30 x 10 - 5 kg m 3

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The dimensions of the horizontal bar is shown above,
Moment of inertia of the horizontal bar about the rotating axis,
Ih = ( mL 2 ) / 12
= ( 0.20396 x 0.60 2 ) / 12
= 6.12 x 10 - 3 kg m 2

Ic = Iv + Ih
= 3.30 x 10 - 5 + 6.12 x 10 - 3
= 6.15 x 10 - 3 kg m 2

For ‘point’ mass setup and the cylindrical setup, the absolute discrepancy for Ic is

10.927-6.15=4.777 (for point mass setup)

21.3-6.15=15.15 (for cylindrical setup)


1.The common reason contribute same amount to the absolute discrepancy regardless of which
setup it is:

The experimental Ic value includes the moment of inertia of the applied _

mass and the rotating pulley in addition to that of the spindle assembly.
The calculated Ic = Iv + Ih only takes into account the spindle and the bar.

The moment of inertia of the pulley:


The effective moment of inertia of the pulley:


The effective moment of inertia of the applied mass:


2.For both setups, the added objects are not ideal point masses, we have to consider the effect of the
spread of mass. According to parallel axis theorem, Iz = IG + Md2 ., the spread of mass will result in a
positive value of IG , each of the ‘point masses’ added on the bar has its own I G even if the value is
small and ignored in the calcutation but it does contribute to I c.

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As compared to the ‘point mass’ system, the “IG effect” become significantly large when we do
experiment on the ‘thin discs’ system.
Referring to the calculation we’ve done in 6.1(e), the moment of inertia of the ‘thin disc’ system should
be I = 2 m r 2 + mR 2 + I c

The detailed explanation is shown in the next question:

6.2 (b) Explain and justify why the graphs plotted (in 6.1 b) intercept the y-axis at different

The intercepts at the y-axis are the respective experimental Ic values of the spindle assembly in two
different setups: ‘point’ mass and cylindrical disc.
= Ih + Iv + Ip + Im +Ig
The graphs intercept the y-axis at the different points shows the difference between the two Ig values of
the ‘point mass’ and ‘thin disc’, hence implies the different degrees of the spread of mass.

Assume ‘point mass’ setup has no spread of mass, so the Ig value of this setup = IG p = 0
For the ‘thin discs’ setup, calculate the moment of inertia about their C.Gs:
m1 + m2
I Gd = × R 2 = 0.8447 × 0.1015 2 = 8.7 × 10 −3 kgm 2 (for thin discs)
The difference between these two theoretical Ig is 8.7 × 10 −3 kgm 2 , while the difference in the
intercept of the graphs is (21.3-10.9)=10.4 × 10 −3 kgm 2 , this consideration of the Ig value(shape
factor) justifies 8.7/10.4=84% of the difference in the intercepts.

6.2 (c) It is found that there exists a value of mass (m f ) that when the applied mass is less than it
(m<m f ) , the spindle assembly will remain stationary, and only when m=m f the system may
rotate with constant angular velocity. How would you include m f in your calculation? Explain.

A minimum applied mass of m f is required to set the spindle assembly in rotation .For there is no
angular acceleration when m f is applied, the pulley rotates with a constant speed and does not take on
any force for it to accelerate (F1-F2=0), hence all the applied force is exerted on the spindle. The
internal frictional force is denoted f while the resistive torque is:

T r = rs m f g
If we were going to set the spindle in rotation, the applied torque T s exerted on the system must
be larger than the resistive torque:
Ts > Tr
the resultant torque applied on the system,T is:

T =Ts -T r
The total torque applied by the mass:
Ts = r s mg
Thus , a ppl y the Newton 2 n d law to the s ystem:
T = r s mg - r s m f g

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Iα = r s g (m - m f )

I = r s g (m - m f ) / α

I = 2r s y ( m - m f )g t2

6 (d) If two rectangular plates are mounted on the horizontal bar in place of the discs (Fig4),
will the orientations of the plates affect the timing t ? Explain.

The timing t would not be affected by the orientation of the plates.

Theoretically, I exp = Iz + Ic = Md 2 + IG + Ic ----------
The moment of inertia about a fixed axis penetrating through the C.G of a thin rectangular
plate is :
IG = m(b 2 + c 2 ) , which means that the I G is a constant with respect to the axis penetrating
through the center of gravity regardless of its orientation in the horizontal plane, the rest terms in the
above equation : Ic = Ih + Iv + Ip + Im which is a constant of a specific assembly,
Md 2 matters only when the center of gravity of the plate changes but has nothing to

do with the orientation of the plate.

I exp
Thus, the won’t be affected as long as the center of gravity doesn’t move along,regardless of the
orientation of the plate.
Hence the timing
d 2 I exp
will not be affected by the oriencation of the plates.

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