3.20 Physics Uniform Circular Motion

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  • One day, I was finishing up football practice and the track coach came up to me and asked if I would ever be interested in shot put or throwing the discus or hammer throw. Not knowing anything about it, except what I have seen on the olympics, I said yes.
  • It was a little daunting trying something new, so I watched a little. And realized all three of the sports he wanted me to try involved angles and spinning. But I was no dancer and worried about getting dizzy.
  • So, the next morning I went to the gym and thought I would try spinning and seeing if I could stay in the center of the circle. And I didn't crash.
  • So I decided to try with one of the practice hammers, it has a smaller line and lighter weight to get the hang of it. I started spinning, and found a constant rhythm, or uniform circular motion, I was doing it! I was moving at a constant speed in a circle!
  • Then, I tried outside...that was a bust! The hammer started spinning faster than me! My science teacher came up and helped me up and told me to think about what we studied last semester. 
  • I thought about what my teacher had told me, and went to try again...using the training hammer, I started spinning. I realized why the line was shorter on the training one is because you have more control over it when it has a smaller circumference while spinning...the regulation ones have longer lines for a larger circumference.
  • After much practice, I started realizing that I needed to accelerate with each rotation I did, essentially centripetal acceleration, to increase the velocity of the hammer as it was going in its circular motion.
  • I grew more interested and watched hammer throwing at the Scottish games! I realized that when they let go it was at the same angle and peak tangential velocity during their spins. 
  • I am still no Olympian, but I have a greater appreciation for the sport along with a much deeper appreciation for Newtonian Physics!

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