Classical Angular Momentum

Link to Prereqs

From introductory physics: some familiarity with angular momentum, torque, Newton's 2nd law for rotations, vector cross product, dot product, gradient.

In-class Content

SWBQ: Review Angular Momentum

SWBQ Sequence: Spinning Top

Demo: Bicycle Wheel Precession

Equipment: Bicycle wheel with rope


  1. A particle moves under the influence of a central force directed toward a fixed origin $O$.

    1. Give a Conceptual Explanation: Why is the angular momentum about $O$ constant for the particle? (Remember, conceptual explanations can and should include equations and diagrams.)

    2. Give a Conceptual Explanation: Why must the particle’s orbit make a plane containing $O$?

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