Abstract

The motion of a sphere on a plane is a five degree-of-freedom motion. It consists of two independent translations of the geometric center of the sphere and three rotations corresponding to gyroscopic motion of the sphere. The trajectory of an imbalanced sphere on the plane depends on: (1) the physical and inertia properties of the sphere, (2) the initial conditions of motion, and (3) the friction between the sphere and the plane. To predict the trajectory of the sphere, a general Eulerian mathematical model is developed which takes into account these conditions. The mathematical model is verified through experimentation. For the first time, general characteristics of the translatory and rotatory motions of the imbalanced sphere with general inertia distribution are presented. The existence of the “break point” in the trajectory is illustrated by examples. The trajectory (track) of the contact point on the surface of the sphere is also analyzed.

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