• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Flywheel experiment

Extracts from this document...



A flywheel is a mechanical device with a significant moment of inertia used as a storage device for rotational energy1. The rotational energy stored enables the flywheel to accelerate at very high velocities, and also to maintain that sort of velocity for a given period of time. The force that enables the flywheel to attain such velocities also produces energy to slow down the flywheel’s motion.


The objectives of the experiment are;

  • To determine the friction torque due to the bearings, Tf  
  • To determine, experimentally, the moment of inertia, I, for the flywheel.
  • To estimate the moment of inertia, using simple equations.
  • To compare the experimental value of I with the estimate and suggest reasons for any discrepancies.


To calculate friction torque, it is assumed that the energy lost due to bearing friction is equal to the potential energy lost by the mass during unwinding and rewinding:

               Mg(H1-H2) = Tf θ                                                                   . . . . . (1)

Where, m        = applied mass (kg)

               H1        = original height of mass above some arbitrary datum (m)

               H2        = final height of mass above the same datum (m)

               Tf            = friction torque (Nm)

...read more.



             C          H1image09.pngimage10.png

String image11.png



A known mass         Bimage03.pngimage04.pngimage02.png


Figure 3.1a


  • The string is wrapped around the flywheel in a clockwise direction, which in turn lifts the known mass that is attached to the bottom of the string to a point close to the flywheel (point A on fig 3.1).
  • The string, with the mass attached to it, is then allowed to wind down the flywheel until the mass reaches its lowest point (point B on fig 3.1), which is timed with a stop watch.
  • The distance between points A and B is measured as H1.
  • After reaching its lowest point, the mass then bounces back and starts to travel in the opposite direction, but then stops at a particular point (point C on fig 3.1).
  • The distance between points B and C is measured as H2.
  • The experiment is then repeated again, so as to improve reliability and accuracy of the supposed result.
...read more.


Furthermore, another error that could have affected the final value was the timing of the stopwatch while measuring H1 and H2. This human error can be significantly reduced via total concentration of everyone involved in the experiment.

Procedural Errors.

The motion of the mass that was attached to the spring could have been affected by factors, such as the air resistance and friction, which would lead to easy energy loss during the experiment. This could have also led to some errors in the final value.                                                                                

This error could have been minimised by doing the experiment in a closed system, which would have not just minimised errors, but also increase the accuracy and reliability of the result.


  1. Lynn White, Jr., “Theophilus Redivivus”, Technology and Culture, Vol. 5, No. 2. (Spring, 1964), Review, pp. 224-233 (233)1
  2. ^Ahmad Y Hassan, Flywheel Effect for a Saqiya.
  3. ^ Lynn White, Jr., “Medieval Engineering and the Sociology of Knowledge”, The Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 44, No. 1. (Feb., 1975), pp. 1-21 (6)

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Mechanics & Radioactivity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Mechanics & Radioactivity essays

  1. Force of Friction experiment

    It was very difficult to keep the force constant. Comparison of Experimental with Expected Result A. Effect of applied force on friction Static friction increased with applied force. It remained stationary relative to the wooden plank. Until limiting static friction ()

  2. Use of technology in a hospital radiology department. The department of imaging is one ...

    Areas of expertise can be grouped into four main subspecialties, this include colorectal, hepatopancreto surgical unit, plastic surgery, surgical oncology unit, upper gastro intestinal surgery and vascular o Imaging department;- the department of imaging is one of the best equipped in the UK and provide a very comprehensive range of diagnostic and interventional services which include.

  1. The physics involved with a rollercoaster.

    This acceleration cause's weightlessness as the car comes down the long ramp. G's Neglecting air resistance, if a rock is dropped, it will accelerate down at 9.8 m/s2. This means it will speed up by 9.8 m/s for every second it falls.

  2. Investigating the factors affecting tensile strength of human hair.

    (Figure 5). * Each hair is tested five times, so I am repeating the experiment, to make my results reliable and more accurate. Results (My own (raw data) results will be highlighted in dark red on tables 2, 3, 4 & 5).

  1. Physic lab report - study the simple harmonic motion (SHM) of a simple pendulum ...

    -1.88E-01 2.04E-02 -4.28E-01 -2.75E+00 <BR />7.50E+01 4.93E+00 -2.06E-01 2.04E-02 -2.75E-01 2.29E+00 <BR />7.60E+01 5.00E+00 -2.16E-01 2.04E-02 -1.53E-01 1.83E+00 <BR />7.70E+01 5.07E+00 -2.38E-01 2.65E-02 -3.36E-01 -2.75E+00 <BR />7.80E+01 5.13E+00 -2.49E-01 2.85E-02 -1.53E-01 2.75E+00 <BR />7.90E+01 5.20E+00 -2.55E-01 2.85E-02 -9.17E-02 9.17E-01 <BR />8.00E+01 5.27E+00 -2.59E-01 2.85E-02 -6.11E-02 4.59E-01 <BR />8.10E+01 5.33E+00 -2.57E-01

  2. Given a Batch of Factory Springs, Estimate the Average Spring Constant and Uncertainty of ...

    was not a factor, the equipment I had was not all compatible. This would produce results that were not accurate enough to exceed those of the experiment above because of this problem. This would have been the alternative experiment: Error identification Random My ruler only measures to the nearest 0.001m

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work