Motion of Two Balls Connected by a Rod

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A rod of negligible mass connecting two balls is thrown into the air. The masses of the balls are and , the horizontal and vertical velocities are and , and the angular velocity is . The system exhibits a combination of translational and rotational motion that produces a rippled path. The blue curve follows the center of mass, which moves in a parabolic trajectory. The red curve follows one of the balls as it spins around the center of mass.

Contributed by: Enrique Zeleny (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The coordinates of the center of mass of a system of two particles is given by:

and ,

where and are the coordinates of the two masses.

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