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Q & A: weird angular momentum

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
A strange and interesting question came to mind today, in the cafetiria, the cook accidentally dropped a bowl of soup with a lid on it, the lid fell off mid drop and, without seeming to have any angular momentum, began spinning and eventually wobbled down. If you are not sure of the instance i am talking about, try dropping a CD or lid your self, I noticed that when i tried this, it only sometimes produced this effect. Why does this happen? Is there invisible angular momentum within the lid or is the angle of trajectory to blame in this instance?
- Ted M. (age 19)
Valporaiso, IN, U.S.A
A:
before we go nuts trying to explain this, can you clarify the phenomenon? Does the disk spin around the same normal axis that, say, a CD would? Or flip sideways?

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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