Circular Motion vs. Spinning Motion

Difference Between Circular Motion and Spinning Motion

When a body moves in a path in such a way that each point in its path is at a distance equal to a fixed point called the center of the path, we say that the movement is circular motion. Man realized the importance of this motion early in the civilized world and as a result invented wheels, which is perhaps the greatest invention in human history. The laws of circular motion can be explained easily with the help of Newton’s laws of motion. Another type of movement called spinning movement is closely attached to the circular motion. Both, the circular movement and spinning movement have some similarities although there are differences too.

Some examples of circular motion in our daily lives are the motion of a ceiling fan running above our heads, the movement of vehicle tires and the motion of a stone tied to a string if we rotate it over our heads. The example of spinning motion is that of a spinning top. The Spinning motion occurs when an object rotates around its own center of mass. It is also known as the rotational motion.

An example where the object is in a circular motion and also spinning motion is the movement of earth as it rotates around its own axis as well as rotating around the sun in a circular motion. Spinning is when the earth moves around its own axis while it continues to revolve around the sun which is a circular motion.

For a body moving in a circular motion, there is the centripetal force acting toward the center of the circle is given by the following formula.

F = m. v2 / r

Where m is the mass of the body, r is the radius of the circle and v is its linear velocity.

If an object is rotating on its own center of mass, there is an angular momentum governed by the laws of rotation formulated by Newton.


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