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published by the University of New South Wales
written by Joe Wolfe
This web page provides a multimedia introduction to rotation.  It includes topics such as rotational kinetic energy, rotational kinematics, moment of inertia, torques, Newton's laws for rotation, and angular momentum.  Short video clips, still images, graphs, and diagrams are integrated with text to promote understanding of important concepts.  

This tutorial is part of the PhysClip collection of web-based resources on introductory mechanics, electricity, and magnetism.
Editor's Note: This resource would work well as a refresher on rotational motion for secondary science teachers or as a supplementary tutorial for AP high school physics. The 14 video clips will help users visualize conservation of angular momentum, force interaction in rolling problems, common cases that result from moment of inertia, and how torque affects angular acceleration.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
= Dynamic Torque
- Rotational Dynamics
= Moment of Inertia
= Rotational Energy
= Transfer of Angular Momentum
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Simulation
= Tutorial
- Audio/Visual
= Illustration
= Image/Image Set
= Movie/Animation
= Photograph
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Free access
© 2006 School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Australia
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia License.
angular momentum, gyroscope, gyroscope video, kinetic energy, moment of inertia, multimedia, newton's laws, precession, rolling, rolling problems, rotation, rotational dynamics videos, rotational kinematics, torque
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created March 13, 2009 by Alea Smith
Record Updated:
October 8, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 31, 2008
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.
  • 9-12: 4E/H9. Many forms of energy can be considered to be either kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion, or potential energy, which depends on the separation between mutually attracting or repelling objects.
4F. Motion
  • 9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships
  • 9-12: 9B/H4. Tables, graphs, and symbols are alternative ways of representing data and relationships that can be translated from one to another.
  • 9-12: 9B/H5. When a relationship is represented in symbols, numbers can be substituted for all but one of the symbols and the possible value of the remaining symbol computed. Sometimes the relationship may be satisfied by one value, sometimes by more than one, and sometimes not at all.

Next Generation Science Standards

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (HS-PS2)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
  • Analyze data to support the claim that Newton's second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration. (HS-PS2-1)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)
  • Momentum is defined for a particular frame of reference; it is the mass times the velocity of the object. (9-12)
  • If a system interacts with objects outside itself, the total momentum of the system can change; however, any such change is balanced by changes in the momentum of objects outside the system. (9-12)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems. (9-12)

Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
    • Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. (9-12)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (9-12)
    • Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students' own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (9-12)
Science Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena (2-12)
  • Laws are statements or descriptions of the relationships among observable phenomena. (9-12)
  • Models, mechanisms, and explanations collectively serve as tools in the development of a scientific theory. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
  • Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
    • Use mathematical representations of phenomena to describe explanations. (9-12)
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
J. Wolfe, (University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2006), WWW Document, (http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/rotation.htm).
J. Wolfe, Physclips: Rotation, torques, precession (University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2006), <http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/rotation.htm>.
APA Format
Wolfe, J. (2008, August 31). Physclips: Rotation, torques, precession. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from University of New South Wales: http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/rotation.htm
Chicago Format
Wolfe, Joe. Physclips: Rotation, torques, precession. Sydney: University of New South Wales, August 31, 2008. http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/rotation.htm (accessed 22 July 2014).
MLA Format
Wolfe, Joe. Physclips: Rotation, torques, precession. Sydney: University of New South Wales, 2006. 31 Aug. 2008. 22 July 2014 <http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/rotation.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Joe Wolfe", Title = {Physclips: Rotation, torques, precession}, Publisher = {University of New South Wales}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {22 July 2014}, Month = {August 31, 2008}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%A Joe Wolfe
%T Physclips: Rotation, torques, precession
%D August 31, 2008
%I University of New South Wales
%C Sydney
%U http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/rotation.htm
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Wolfe, Joe
%D August 31, 2008
%T Physclips: Rotation, torques, precession
%I University of New South Wales
%V 2014
%N 22 July 2014
%8 August 31, 2008
%9 text/html
%U http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/rotation.htm

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