Physics What kind of motion can a rigid body have ?

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`star` Introduction
`star` What kind of motion can a rigid body have ?


`color{green} ✍️` In the earlier chapters we primarily considered the motion of a single particle. (A particle is represented as a point mass. It has practically no size.)

`color{green} ✍️` In this chapter We shall attempt to build an understanding of the motion of extended bodies. We shall begin with the consideration of motion of the system as a whole.

`color{green} ✍️` The centre of mass of a system of particles will be a key concept here. We shall discuss the motion of the centre of mass of a system of particles and usefulness of this concept in understanding the motion of extended bodies.

`color{green} ✍️` Ideally a rigid body is a body with a perfectly definite and unchanging shape. The distances between all pairs of particles of such a body do not change. It is evident from this definition of a rigid body that no real body is truly rigid, since real bodies deform under the influence of forces. But in many situations the deformations are negligible.

What kind of motion can a rigid body have ?

`●` Let us begin with a rectangular block sliding down an inclined plane without any sidewise movement. The block is a rigid body.
`●` Its motion down the plane is such that all the particles of the body are moving together, i.e. they have the same velocity at any instant of time.
`●` The rigid body here is in pure translational motion (Fig. 7.1).

In pure translational motion at any instant of time all particles of the body have the same velocity.

`color{blue} ►` Consider now the rolling motion of a solid metallic or wooden cylinder down the same inclined plane (Fig. 7.2).

`●` The rigid body in this problem, namely the cylinder, shifts from the top to the bottom of the inclined plane, and thus, has translational motion.
`●` But as Fig. 7.2 shows, all its particles are not moving with the same velocity at any instant. The body therefore, is not in pure translation. Its motion is translation plus ‘something else.’

`color{blue} ►` In order to understand what this ‘something else’ is,
`●` Let us take a rigid body so constrained that it cannot have translational motion. The most common way to constrain a rigid body so that it does not have translational motion is to fix it along a straight line.
`●` The only possible motion of such a rigid body is rotation. The line along which the body is fixed is termed as its axis of rotation. If you look around, you will come across many examples of rotation about an axis, a ceiling fan, a potter’s wheel, a giant wheel in a fair, a merry-go-round and so on (Fig 7.3(a) and (b)).

`●` Let us try to understand what rotation is, what characterises rotation. You may notice that in rotation of a rigid body about a fixed axis, every particle of the body moves in a circle, which lies in a plane perpendicular to the axis and has its centre on the axis.

`●` Fig. 7.4 shows the rotational motion of a rigid body about a fixed axis (the z-axis of the frame of reference).

`●` Let `P_1` be a particle of the rigid body, arbitrarily chosen and at a distance `r_1` from fixed axis. The particle `P_1` describes a circle of radius `r_1` with its centre `C_1` on the fixed axis.
`●` The circle lies in a plane perpendicular to the axis. The figure also shows another particle `P_2` of the rigid body, `P_2` is at a distance `r_2` from the fixed axis.
`●` The particle `P_2` moves in a circle of radius `r_2` and with centre `C_2` on the axis. This circle, too, lies in a plane perpendicular to the axis.

`\color{green} ✍️` Note that the circles described by `P_1` and `P_2` may lie in different planes; both these planes, however, are perpendicular to the fixed axis. For any particle on the axis like `P_3, r = 0`. Any such particle remains stationary while the body rotates. This is expected since the axis is fixed.

`●` In some examples of rotation, however, the axis may not be fixed. A prominent example of this kind of rotation is a top spinning in place [Fig. 7.5(a)]. (We assume that the top does not slip from place to place and so does not have translational motion.)
`●` We know from experience that the axis of such a spinning top moves around the vertical through its point of contact with the ground, sweeping out a cone as shown in Fig. 7.5(a). (This movement of the axis of the top around the vertical is termed precession.) Note, the point of contact of the top with ground is fixed.

`●` The axis of rotation of the top at any instant passes through the point of contact. Another simple example of this kind of rotation is the oscillating table fan or a pedestal fan. You may have observed that the axis of rotation of such a fan has an oscillating (sidewise) movement in a horizontal plane about the vertical through the point at which the axis is pivoted (point O in Fig. 7.5(b)).
`●` While the fan rotates and its axis moves sidewise, this point is fixed. Thus, in more general cases of rotation, such as the rotation of a top or a pedestal fan, one point and not one line, of the rigid body is fixed. In this case the axis is not fixed, though it always passes through the fixed point. In our study, however, we mostly deal with the simpler and special case of rotation in which one line (i.e. the axis) is fixed.

`●` Thus, for us rotation will be about a fixed axis only unless stated otherwise. The rolling motion of a cylinder down an inclined plane is a combination of rotation about a fixed axis and translation.
`●` Thus, the something else’ in the case of rolling motion which we referred to earlier is rotational motion.

`color{green}☞` You will find Fig. 7.6(a) and (b) instructive from this point of view. Both these figures show motion of the same body along identical translational trajectory. In one case, Fig. 7.6(a), the motion is a pure translation; in the other case [Fig. 7.6(b)] it is a combination of translation and rotation. (You may try to reproduce the two types of motion shown using a rigid object like a heavy book.)
`color{green}☞` We now recapitulate the most important observations of the present section: The motion of a rigid body which is not pivoted or fixed in some way is either a pure translation or a combination of translation and rotation. The motion of a rigid body which is pivoted or fixed in some way is rotation.
`●` The rotation may be about an axis that is fixed (e.g. a ceiling fan) or moving (e.g. an oscillating table fan). We shall, in the present chapter, consider rotational motion about a fixed axis only.