Student author: Julia Huddy
Student author: Adam Baldoni
Student author: William Boyes
American Journal of Physics
We explore the steady-state rotational motion of a cylinder on a flat horizontal surface from a pedagogical perspective. We show that the cylinder's inclination angle depends on its rotational velocity in a surprisingly subtle manner, including both stable and unstable solutions as well as a forbidden region with no (real) solutions. Moreover, the cylinder's behavior undergoes a qualitative change as the aspect ratio decreases below a critical value. Using a high-speed video, we measure the inclination angle as a function of rotation speed and demonstrate good agreement with the theoretical predictions. All aspects of the analysis are well within the capabilities of undergraduate students, making this an ideal system to explore in courses or as an independent project.
Jackson, David P., Julia Huddy, Adam Baldoni, and William Boyes. "The Mysterious Spinning Cylinder---Rigid-Body Motion That is Full of Surprises." American Journal of Physics 87, no. 2 (2019): 85-94. https://aapt.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1119/1.5086391