Angular Acceleration


The Angular Acceleration Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive is modeled after a popular lab that utilizes the same equipment. We believe that it would have value when used in any one of hte following ways:
  • As a pre-lab activity to prepare students for the actual lab,
  • As a post-lab activity as a check of student understanding of the actual lab,
  • As a stand-alone activity in situations in which the actual equipment is not available or its set-up is not feasible.

There are three variables which can be altered in this lab. The amount of mass attached to the string can be set to 0.10 kg, 0.20 kg, or 0.30 kg. Each successive increase in mass results in an increase in the tension force upon the spindle and an increased torque. The number of platters that are attached to the rotating spindle can also be changed from one to two to three. Increase the number of spindles increases the rotational inertia of the spindle and rotating system. Finally, the spindle radius can be set to 0.01 m, 0.02 m, or 0.03 m. Each successive increase would cause the application of the tension force on the spindle to move further from the axis of rotation. This increase in distance would result in an increase in the torque on the spindle and rotating system.

The Physics Classroom has prepared a student activity sheet for use with this simulation. Teachers are welcome to download and use it with their classes. View Student Activity Sheet.

Our Angular Acceleration simulation is now available with a Concept Checker. Do the simulation. Then follow it up with the Concept Checker.


Related Resources

We added numerous resources to our website during the 2022-23 school year (and beyond) on the topic of torque, rotational motion, and angular acceleration. Here are a few that might blend well with the use of this Interactive.
  • The Calculator Pad:
    Our recently-revised Calculator Pad section has a complete collection of problems on all sorts of torque and rotation topics. There are 8 problem sets on the topic of Rotational Dynamics. Each successive problem set becomes progressively more difficult than the one before it and they would make great follow-ups to this Interactive.

    View Rotation and Torque at The Calculator Pad




The Physics Classroom would like to extend a special thanks to Nerd Island Studios for the creation of this HTML5 Interactive. Visit to see more great stuff by Nerd Island Studios.