This lab requires the use of the Phet simulation:  Lady Bug Revolution.  The simulation can be accessed at:

Part 1: Intro

  1. Select the tab labeled:  “Intro”
  2. Select “show velocity vector” and “show acceleration vector”  on the bottom left.
  3. Select approximately 190 degrees/second for the angular velocity. Record your exact value here:  ____________.
  4. Measure the distance of the ladybug from the center using the ruler and record the value in the table below.  Then click the “step” button 5 times to advance the simulation. Record the angle.  Using q = s/r, calculate the distance the ladybug has traveled along the path and record it in the table.  Reset the simulation.
  5. Repeat step 4, each time placing the ladybug at a different location on the wheel.  Vary the number of “steps” used each time as well. Record all data in the table below.
AngleMeasured distance from centerDistance traveled along the circular path (calculated)Velocity (calculated)Moment of Inertia (calculated)Angular acceleration (calculated)Moment of InertiaTorque
  • Calculate the velocity of the ladybug at each position using the equation v = w r and record in the table. 
  • Recall from Chapter 5 that the centripetal acceleration in uniform circular motion is given by a = v2/r.  Using this and the relation between linear and angular acceleration:  a = a r, calculate the angular acceleration and record it in the table.
  • At each position, calculate the moment of inertia (I = m r2), assuming a mass of 2 grams for the ladybug.
  • Calculate the torque acting on the ladybug at each position and record in the table.
  1. Summary:  write a one paragraph summary describing what you have learned about rotational motion from doing this lab.  Your summary should include an explanation of each of the measured/calculated quantities.

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