David Halliday, Robert Resnick, Kenneth S. Krane

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Written for the full year or three term Calculus-based University Physics course for science and engineering majors, the publication of the first edition of Physics in 1960 launched the modern era of Physics textbooks. It was a new paradigm at the time and continues to be the dominant model for all texts. Physics is the most realistic option for schools looking to teach a more demanding course.

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Does anyone have any good references for equations which can be implemented relatively easily for how to compute the transfer of angular momentum between two rigid bodies?

I've been searching for this sort of thing for a while, and I haven't found any particularly comprehensible explanations of the problem.

To be precise, the question comes about as this; two rigid bodies are moving on a frictionless (well, nearly) surface; think of it as air hockey. The two rigid bodies come into contact, and then move away. Now, without considering angular momentum, the equations are relatively simple; the problem becomes, what happens with the transfer of angular momentum between the bodies?

As an example, assume the two bodies have no angular momentum whatsoever; they're not rotating. When they interact at an oblique angle (vector of travel does not align with the line of their centers of mass), obviously a certain amount of their momentum gets transferred into angular momentum (i.e. they each get a certain amount of spin), but how much and what are the equations for such?

This can probably be solved by using a many-body rigid system to calculate, but I want to get a much more optimized calculation going, so I can calculate this stuff in real-time. Does anyone have any ideas on the equations, or pointers to open-source implementations of these calculations for inclusion in a project? To be precise, I need this to be a rather well-optimized calculation, because of the number of interactions that need to be simulated within a single "tick" of the simulation.

Edit: Okay, it looks like there's not a lot of precise information about this topic out there. And I find the "Physics for Programmers" type of books to be a bit too... dumbed down to really get; I don't want code implementation of an algorithm; I want to figure out (or at least have sketched out for me) the algorithm. Only in that way can I properly optimize it for my needs. Does anyone have any mathematic references on this sort of topic?

You should have a look at Physics for Game Developers - it's hard to go wrong with an O'Reilly book.

Well, my favorite physics book is Halliday and Resnick. I never ever feel like that book is dumbing down anything for me (the dumb is inside the skull, not on the page...).

If you set up a thought problem, you can start to get a feeling for how this would play out.

Imagine that your two rigid air hockey pucks are frictionless on the bottom but have a maximal coefficient of friction around the edges. Clearly, if the two pucks head towards each other with identical kinetic energy, they will collide perfectly elastically and head back in opposite directions.

However, if their centers are offset by 2*radius - epsilon, they'll just barely touch at one point on the perimeter. If they had an incredibly high coefficient of friction around the edge, you can imagine that all of their energy would be transferred into rotation. There would have to be a separation after the impact, of course, or they'd immediately stop their own rotations as they stuck together.

So, if you're just looking for something plausible and interesting looking (ala game physics), I'd say that you could normalize the coefficient of friction to account for the tiny contact area between the two bodies (pick something that looks interesting) and use the sin of the angle between the path of the bodies and the impact point. Straight on, you'd get a bounce, 45 degrees would give you bounce and spin, 90 degrees offset would give you maximal spin and least bounce.

Obviously, none of the above is an accurate simulation. It should be a simple enough framework to cause interesting behaviors to happen, though.

EDIT: Okay, I came up with another interesting example that is perhaps more telling.

Imagine a single disk (as above) moving towards a motionless, rigid, near one-dimensional pin tip that provides the previous high friction but low stickiness. If the disk passes at a distance that it just kisses the edge, you can imagine that a fraction of its linear energy will be converted to rotational energy.

However, one thing you know for certain is that there is a maximum rotational energy after this touch: the disk cannot end up spinning at such a speed that it's outer edge is moving at a speed higher than the original linear speed. So, if the disk was moving at one meter per second, it can't end up in a situation where its outer edge is moving at more than one meter per second.

So, now that we have a long essay, there are a few straightforward concepts that should aid intuition:

  1. The sine of the angle of the impact will affect the resulting rotation.
  2. The linear energy will determine the maximum possible rotational energy.
  3. A single parameter can simulate the relevant coefficients of friction to the point of being interesting to look at in simulation.