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Skating and Angular Momentum

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Areas of Science
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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Place a desk chair (one that rotates easily on ball bearings) in the center of the room, away from any obstructions. Put your hands on your lap and have a helper give you a push to start you rotating. You'll need to quantify the results somehow. For example, your helper could measure the number of revolutions you make in 5 seconds. Now try extending your arms after your helper starts you spinning. Next, start with your arms out, and bring them in close to your body after you start spinning. You can also try this while holding a heavy weight in each hand. Repeat each trial at least three times (take breaks so you don't get too dizzy!) Advanced: try to use the conservation law (angular momentum) to write an equation to predict how fast you should spin in each condition. How well does your prediction agree with your actual results? Try to explain any deviations between predicted and actual results. If you need help, you can use Science Buddies Ask an Expert Forum to check the derivation of your equation. (Idea from: Goodstein, 1999, 114-116.)


Goodstein, M., 1999. Sports Science Projects: The Physics of Balls in Motion. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.
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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Skating and Angular Momentum." Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Sports_p041/sports-science/skating-and-angular-momentum. Accessed 28 May 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). Skating and Angular Momentum. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Sports_p041/sports-science/skating-and-angular-momentum

Last edit date: 2017-07-28
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