College Physics

11th Edition
Raymond A. Serway + 1 other
ISBN: 9781305952300



College Physics

11th Edition
Raymond A. Serway + 1 other
ISBN: 9781305952300
Textbook Problem

The cars in a soapbox derby have no engines; they simply coast downhill. Which of the following design criteria is best from a competitive point of view? The car’s wheels should (a) have large moments of inertia, (b) be massive, (c) be hoop-like wheels rather than solid disks, (d) be large wheels rather than small wheels, or (e) have small moments of inertia.

To determine
The type of wheels to be used.


The rotational energy is given by,


  • I is the moment of inertia.
  • ω is the angular velocity.


When the wheels have smaller moments of inertia, their rotational energy is less. As a result, the car will have greater translational energy. Therefore, option (e) is correct.

When the wheels have larger moment of inertia, the rotational energy will be large and thus, making its translational energy to be less

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