Advanced General Physics 323/324

Classical Mechanics Unit CM2 Angular Momentum of Particles and Rigid Bodies

Prerequisite: CM1

Overview: This unit covers many facets of angular momentum of particles and rigid bodies and the application of this concept to different circumstances. Central force motion and the angular momentum of a particle will be covered in greater depth in Unit CM3.


D. Kleppner and R. Kolenkow, An Introduction to Mechanics (K&K) Chapt. 6 - Angular Momentum and Fixed Axis Rotation; consult Chapt. 1 for a review of vectors, elementary vector calculus, and other mathematical topics.

Comment: K&K is well-written and abounds with instructive and appropriate examples. The problems at the ends of the chapters are in many cases quite difficult, however, an the assigned problems have been chosen with care. The solutions are on file: just ask an instructor if you wish to see them.

Videotape: There is a videotape of a lecture by Prof. John Conway providing an explanation of the key concepts and problem-solving techniques for this unit. If you wish to view the tape during class ask you instructor to set you up in the nearby video room. This tape can also be viewed in the Math and Science Learning Center (MSLC) by asking at the reception desk for Physics 323 Tape CM2 on Angular Momentum.

The video may also be viewed online here

After completing this unit you should understand:

  1. The angular momentum of a particle.
  2. The angular momentum of a rigid body.
  3. Torque.
  4. Central force motion.
  5. Fixed axis rotation.
  6. Moments of inertia.
  7. Parallel axis theorem.
  8. The physical pendulum.
  9. Pure rolling motion.
  10. The work-energy theorem for a rigid body.


Chapt. 6: Problems 1,4-8,11,12,14,21,25,26.

Back to the Physics 323/324 Home Page.