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From [link] (a), we see the force vectors involved in preventing the wheel from slipping. In (b), point P that touches the surface is at rest relative to the surface. Relative to the center of mass, point P has velocity R ω i ^ , where R is the radius of the wheel and ω is the wheel’s angular velocity about its axis. Since the wheel is rolling, the velocity of P with respect to the surface is its velocity with respect to the center of mass plus the velocity of the center of mass with respect to the surface:

v P = R ω i ^ + v CM i ^ .

Since the velocity of P relative to the surface is zero, v P = 0 , this says that

v CM = R ω .

Thus, the velocity of the wheel’s center of mass is its radius times the angular velocity about its axis. We show the correspondence of the linear variable on the left side of the equation with the angular variable on the right side of the equation. This is done below for the linear acceleration.

If we differentiate [link] on the left side of the equation, we obtain an expression for the linear acceleration of the center of mass. On the right side of the equation, R is a constant and since α = d ω d t , we have

a CM = R α .

Furthermore, we can find the distance the wheel travels in terms of angular variables by referring to [link] . As the wheel rolls from point A to point B , its outer surface maps onto the ground by exactly the distance travelled, which is d CM . We see from [link] that the length of the outer surface that maps onto the ground is the arc length R θ . Equating the two distances, we obtain

d CM = R θ .
A wheel, radius R, rolling on a horizontal surface and moving to the right at v sub C M is drawn in two positions. In the first position, point A on the wheel is at the bottom, in contact with the surface, and point B is at the top. The arc length from A to B along the rim of the wheel is highlighted and labeled as being R theta. In the second position, point B on the wheel is at the bottom, in contact with the surface, and point A is at the top. The horizontal distance between the wheel’s point of contact with the surface in the two illustrated positions is d sub C M. The arc length A B is now on the other side of the wheel.
As the wheel rolls on the surface, the arc length R θ from A to B maps onto the surface, corresponding to the distance d CM that the center of mass has moved.

Rolling down an inclined plane

A solid cylinder rolls down an inclined plane without slipping, starting from rest. It has mass m and radius r . (a) What is its acceleration? (b) What condition must the coefficient of static friction μ S satisfy so the cylinder does not slip?


Draw a sketch and free-body diagram, and choose a coordinate system. We put x in the direction down the plane and y upward perpendicular to the plane. Identify the forces involved. These are the normal force, the force of gravity, and the force due to friction. Write down Newton’s laws in the x - and y -directions, and Newton’s law for rotation, and then solve for the acceleration and force due to friction.


  1. The free-body diagram and sketch are shown in [link] , including the normal force, components of the weight, and the static friction force. There is barely enough friction to keep the cylinder rolling without slipping. Since there is no slipping, the magnitude of the friction force is less than or equal to μ S N . Writing down Newton’s laws in the x - and y -directions, we have
    F x = m a x ; F y = m a y .

    A diagram of a cylinder rolling without slipping down an inclined plane and a free body diagram of the cylinder. On the left is an illustration showing the inclined plane, which makes an angle of theta with the horizontal. The cylinder is shown to be at rest at the top, then moving along the incline when it is lower. On the right is a free body diagram. The x y coordinate system is tilted so that the positive x direction is parallel to the inclined plane and points toward its bottom, and the positive y direction is outward, perpendicular to the plane. Four forces are shown. N j hat acts at the center of the cylinder and points in the positive y direction. m g sine theta i hat acts at the center of the cylinder and points in the positive x direction. Minus m g cosine theta j hat acts at the center of the cylinder and points in the negative y direction. Minus f sub s i hat acts at the point of contact and points in the negative x direction.
    A solid cylinder rolls down an inclined plane without slipping from rest. The coordinate system has x in the direction down the inclined plane and y perpendicular to the plane. The free-body diagram is shown with the normal force, the static friction force, and the components of the weight m g . Friction makes the cylinder roll down the plane rather than slip.

    Substituting in from the free-body diagram,
    m g sin θ f S = m ( a CM ) x , N m g cos θ = 0 , f S μ S N ,
    we can then solve for the linear acceleration of the center of mass from these equations:
    ( a CM ) x = g ( sin θ μ S cos θ ) .

    However, it is useful to express the linear acceleration in terms of the moment of inertia. For this, we write down Newton’s second law for rotation,
    τ CM = I CM α .

    The torques are calculated about the axis through the center of mass of the cylinder. The only nonzero torque is provided by the friction force. We have
    f S r = I CM α .

    Finally, the linear acceleration is related to the angular acceleration by
    ( a CM ) x = r α .

    These equations can be used to solve for a CM , α , and f S in terms of the moment of inertia, where we have dropped the x -subscript. We write a CM in terms of the vertical component of gravity and the friction force, and make the following substitutions.
    a CM = g sin θ f S m

    f S = I CM α r = I CM a CM r 2
    From this we obtain
    a CM = g sin θ I CM a CM m r 2 , = m g sin θ m + ( I CM / r 2 ) .

    Note that this result is independent of the coefficient of static friction, μ S .
    Since we have a solid cylinder, from [link] , we have I CM = m r 2 / 2 and
    a CM = m g sin θ m + ( m r 2 / 2 r 2 ) = 2 3 g sin θ .

    Therefore, we have
    α = a CM r = 2 3 r g sin θ .
  2. Because slipping does not occur, f S μ S N . Solving for the friction force,
    f S = I CM α r = I CM ( a CM ) r 2 = I CM r 2 ( m g sin θ m + ( I CM / r 2 ) ) = m g I CM sin θ m r 2 + I CM .

    Substituting this expression into the condition for no slipping, and noting that N = m g cos θ , we have
    m g I CM sin θ m r 2 + I CM μ S m g cos θ

    μ S tan θ 1 + ( m r 2 / I CM ) .

    For the solid cylinder, this becomes
    μ S tan θ 1 + ( 2 m r 2 / m r 2 ) = 1 3 tan θ .

Questions & Answers

Specific heat capacity .....what is the formulae for solving the SHC of a substance in respect to its container
E-vibes Reply
what is symbol of nano
Iqra Reply
what is the symbol of nano
using dimensional analysis find the unit of gravitation constant G in F=G m1 m2/r
John Reply
Newton meter per kg square
meter squre par second and kg swaure
what are the possible sources of error in coefficient of static and dynamic friction and there precautions
what is Bohr
Shcorah Reply
He is a physicist who formulated the atomic model of an Atom
And made 3 postulates
Check university physics vol 3 > Nuclear physics
Bohr model
what is mean by Doppler effect
increase or decrease in the frequency of sound and light.
is it?
actually it is apparent change in the frequency of light or sound as object move towards or away.
state the basic assumption of kinetic theory of gases
state the characteristics of gases that differentiate them from solids
identify the magnitude and direction a vector quantity
Alvean Reply
Identify work done on an inclined plane given at angle to the horizontal
formula for Velocity
Honey_and Reply
what is the value of x 6yx7y
Elijah Reply
what is the formula for frictional force
bassey Reply
I believe, correct me if I am wrong, but Ffr=Fn*mu
frictional force ,mathematically Fforce (Ffr) =K∆R where by K stands for coefficient of friction ,R stands for normal force/reaction NB: R = mass of a body ( m) x Acc.due gravity (g) The formula will hold the meaning if and only if the body is relatively moving with zero angle (∅ = 0°C)
What is concept associated with linear motion
Adeoye Reply
what causes friction?
uneven surfaces cause friction Elijah
rough surfacea
what will happen to vapor pressure when you add solute to a solution?
shane Reply
how is freezing point depression different from boiling point elevation?
how is the osmotic pressure affect the blood serum?
what is the example of colligative properties that seen in everyday living?
freezing point depression deals with the particles in the matter(liquid) loosing energy.....while boiling elevation is the particles of the matter(liquid)gaining energy
What is motion
Adeoye Reply
moving place to place
change position with respect to surrounding
to which
to where ?
the phenomenon of an object to changes its position with respect to the reference point with passage of time then it is called as motion
it's just a change in position
reference point -it is a fixed point respect to which can say that a object is at rest or motion
A change in position
change in position depending on time
a change in the position of a body
Is there any calculation for line integral in scalar feild?
Sadia Reply
what is thrust
Aarti Reply
when an object is immersed in liquid, it experiences an upward force which is called as upthrust.
@Phanindra Thapa No, that is buoyancy that you're talking about...
thrust is simply a push
it is a force that is exerted by liquid.
what is the difference between upthrust and buoyancy?
The force exerted by a liquid is called buoyancy. not thrust. there are many different types of thrust and I think you should Google it instead of asking here.
hey Kumar, don't discourage somebody like that. I think this conversation is all about discussion...remember that the more we discuss the more we know...
thrust is an upward force acting on an object immersed in a liquid.
uptrust and buoyancy are the same
the question isn't asking about up thrust. he simply asked what is thrust
a Thrust is simply a push
the perpendicular force applied on the body
thrust is a force of depression while
what is friction?
while upthrust is a force that act on a body when it is fully or partially submerged in a liquid
mathematically upthrust (u) = Real weight (wr) - Apparent weight (wa) u = wr- wa.
friction is a force which opposes relative motion.
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