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Old 2002-10-12, 09:56 PM   #33
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Bethlehem, Pa
Posts: 274
You are right in assuming that a massless wheel would not exhibit the behaviour that I mentioned. These are kinetic equations and deal with the momentum. Also then you can't apply forces to massless things.
I often too find it difficult to sort out physical meaning from just equations and had to go through this several times before I got a handle on it. Try to picture a ball on a string that you are swining in a circle in a vertical plane. Imagine giving the ball a whack directly to the side while it is spinning. the spinning doesn't cease but sort of changes direction. Think of how it would. Now instead of a ball think of it as continuous like a wheel. You will have each little piece responding to now not a force applied to one point the instant it passes by, but to the whole continuum as it passes, and each little piece is trying to respond. This is the way that I understand it. Hope this helps.
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