Tipping Point of a Cylinder

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Tipping points are conditions in which the impetus for change becomes unstoppable. The term has been popularized in the sociological sense by Malcolm Gladwell's 2000 bestseller. But "tipping point" was originally a term in physics. A cylinder will fall to one of its stable orientations, either upright or to one side, depending on whether its tilt angle is less than or greater than its tipping point . An inset shows a plot of potential energy , where is the height of the center of gravity.

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Contributed by: S. M. Blinder (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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M. Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Boston: Little, Brown, 2000.



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