MadSci Network: Physics

Subject: two wheels with the same mass roll down an incline plane differently

Date: Sat Nov 27 12:35:22 1999
Posted by Joel wenzel
Grade level: 10-12 School: CEC
City: Truro State/Province: NS Country: Canada
Area of science: Physics
ID: 943727722.Ph

I have these two wheels with the same mass.  One has weights attached all 
around the edge of the wheel.  The other has all the weights concentrated 
in the center where the axle should be.  When I race the wheels down an 
incline plan, the one with the weights in the center always wins.  It 
accelerates faster every time.  They both have the same initial potential 
energy but it appears that they both do not have the same kinetic energy 
at the bottom of the plan since one is going faster.  I am confused and it 
would be really helpful if you could explain this too me.  If I let the 
wheels keep going after the plan on a flat surface, would they both stop 
in the same spot the same distance away?  do you know any formulas that go 
with the theory?

Thanks.  This is a great free service.  Please respond as soon as possible 
because I'd like to do this experiment for a project

Re: two wheels with the same mass roll down an incline plane differently

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