The hoop shown here has a radius

. Gravity is acting downward at

. The friction coefficient is 0.001. The gray line indicates the horizontal axis of rotation. The motion of the bead is independent of its mass. The bead is given an initial displacement of 0.10 radians from the equilibrium point. Starting the Demonstration causes the hoop to rotate about the axis with angular frequency

, allowing the motion of the bead along the rotating hoop to be observed.

For small oscillations, the motion of the bead is described by Mathieu's equation for the angle of displacement,

,

,

where

is the time scaled by the frequency of rotation, and

and

are real constants fixed by the parameters in the problem. For the bead on the hoop,

,

where

is the amount the axis of rotation is shifted down from the center, and

.

Solutions to Mathieu's equation display parametric stability, so that the amplitude of the motion remains bounded for certain values of

* *and

* *, but unbounded for others. Friction tends to increase the stability of the motion. When the square of the rotational frequency is very large compared to

, such that

is nearly zero, the motion is stable for all values of

, except when

. On the other hand, when

is very large, corresponding to low frequencies of rotation, the motion is always unstable.

In this Demonstration, you can vary the rotation frequency from 3 to 8 radians per second. The lowest frequency of 3 radians per second leads to instability in all cases. As the frequency is increased, the bead tends to be "trapped" near the equilibrium point. In the limit that

*,* Mathieu's equation predicts that the motion will become essentially harmonic. However, at very large frequencies and sufficiently large initial displacements, the motion is no longer accurately described by a Mathieu equation and the bead experiences a significant "centrifugal force". This behavior is further explored in another

*Mathematica* Demonstration based on this model,

Bead on a Horizontally Rotating Hoop: Variable Initial Displacement and Tilted Axis.

Shifting the axis of rotation down from the center of the hoop changes the value of the other Mathieu parameter,

. The motion when

* *and

(

* * and

, respectively) is predicted by the Mathieu equation to be unstable always. However, for the case

, after a small increase in the amplitude of the motion the centrifugal force acts to

*stabilize* the motion

*.* On the other hand, when

*,* the motion of the bead is always unstable, no matter what the rotational frequency. When the axis is tangent to the bottom of the hoop (

*) *the motion of the bead is equivalent to that of an ion in a Paul rf trap.