Rolling Versus Sliding

Purpose

Application of conservation of energy in a rolling object.

Equipment

Rolling and sliding cylinders, inclined plane.

Suggestions

Let your students guess what will happen before performing the experiment.

Images

d1-61

Description

Q: Which is faster, rolling or sliding? An aluminum cylinder rolls down the incline. An identical cylinder has tiny ball bearings on one end so that it slides without friction down the incline. If the two cylinders are started from the top at the same time, which will reach the bottom first, rolling, sliding, or a tie? A: sliding is faster.

References

Mario Iona, Letter: Sliding is Faster Than Rolling, TPT 27, 230 (1989).