PocketLab Voyager: Moment of Inertia and Conservation of Angular Momentum

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 08/11/2017 - 21:32

As shown in the image accompanying this lesson, conservation of angular momentum can be investigated using a Lazy Susan (LS), PocketLab, and a compact weight.   Voyager is mounted to the LS.  The LS is given a spin and gradually slows down from friction.   The compact weight is dropped just above the edge of the LS.  The resultant sudden decrease in angular velocity is recorded by Voyager.  The accompanying video shows all of this action.  Taking into account the moment of inertia of the LS, and approximating the compact weight as a point object at a known distance from the center of the LS, the law of conservation of angular momentum can be verified to within a few percent.

Lazy Susan Conservation of Angular Momentum
Grade Level