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Moment of inertia

A tightrope walker uses the moment of inertia of the long rod to help maintain balance. This is Samuel Dixon crossing the Niagara river in 18 !. Moment of inertia is the mass propert" of a rigid bod" that defines the tor#ue needed for a desired change in angular velocit" about an axis of rotation. $oment of inertia depends on the shape of the bod" and ma" be different around different axes of rotation. A larger moment of inertia around a given axis re#uires more tor#ue to increase the rotation% or to stop the rotation% of a bod" about that axis. $oment of inertia depends on the amount and distribution of its mass% and can be found through the sum of moments of inertia of the masses making up the whole ob&ect% under the same conditions. 'or example% if % then . (n classical mechanics% moment of inertia ma" also be called mass moment of inertia% rotational inertia% polar moment of inertia% or the angular mass. 'or planar movement of a bod"% the tra&ectories of all of its points lie in parallel planes% and the rotation occurs onl" about an axis perpendicular to this plane. (n this case% the bod" has a single moment of inertia% which is measured around this axis. 'or spatial movement of a bod"% the moment of inertia is defined b" its s"mmetric )x) inertia matrix. The inertia matrix is often described as a s"mmetric rank two tensor% having six independent components. The inertia matrix includes off*diagonal terms called products of inertia that couple tor#ue around one axis to acceleration about another axis. +ach bod" has a set of mutuall" perpendicular axes% called principal axes% for which the off*diagonal terms of the inertia matrix are ,ero% and a tor#ue around a principal axis onl" affects the acceleration about that axis.

Contents

1 (ntroduction o 1.1 Simple pendulum o 1.- .ompound pendulum o 1.) .enter of oscillation - $easuring moment of inertia ) Definition / .alculating moment of inertia about an axis o /.1 +xample calculation of moment of inertia 0 $oment of inertia in planar movement of a rigid bod"

0.1 Angular momentum in planar movement 0.- 1inetic energ" in planar movement 0.) Newton2s laws for planar movement 3 The inertia matrix for spatial movement of a rigid bod" o 3.1 Angular momentum o 3.- 1inetic energ" o 3.) 4esultant tor#ue o 3./ 5arallel axis theorem 6 The inertia matrix and the scalar moment of inertia around an arbitrar" axis 8 The inertia tensor o 8.1 (dentities for a skew*s"mmetric matrix The inertia matrix in different reference frames o .1 7od" frame inertia matrix o .- 5rincipal axes o .) (nertia ellipsoid 1! See also 11 4eferences 1- +xternal links
o o o

Introduction

A fl"wheel is a wheel with a large moment of inertia used to smooth out motion in machines. This example is in a 4ussian museum. 8hen a bod" is rotating around an axis% a tor#ue must be applied to change its angular momentum. The amount of tor#ue needed for an" given change in angular momentum is proportional to the si,e of that change. $oment of inertia has units of kg9m- in S( units and lbm ft-: in ;S units. (n 136) .hristiaan <u"gens introduced this parameter in his stud" of the oscillation of a bod" hanging from a pivot% known as a compound pendulum.=1> The term moment of inertia was introduced b" ?eonhard +uler in his book Theoria motus corporum solidorum seu rigidorum in 1630%=1>=-> and it is incorporated into +uler2s second law. The natural fre#uenc" of oscillation of a compound pendulum is obtained from the ratio of the tor#ue imposed b" gravit" on the mass of the pendulum to the resistance to acceleration defined b" the moment of inertia. .omparison of this natural fre#uenc" to that of a simple pendulum consisting of a single point of mass provides a mathematical formulation for moment of inertia of an extended bod".=)>=/>

$oment of inertia also appears in momentum% kinetic energ"% and in Newton2s laws of motion for a rigid bod" as a ph"sical parameter that combines its shape and mass. There is an interesting difference in the wa" moment of inertia appears in planar and spatial movement. 5lanar movement has a single scalar that defines the moment of inertia% while for spatial movement the same calculations "ield a )x) matrix of moments of inertia% called the inertia matrix or inertia tensor.=0>=3> The moment of inertia of a rotating fl"wheel is used in a machine to resist variations in applied tor#ue in order to smooth its rotational output. The moment of inertia of an airplane about its longitudinal% hori,ontal and vertical axes determines how steering forces on the control surfaces of its wings% elevators and tail affect the plane in roll% pitch and "aw.

Simple pendulum
A simple pendulum is a point mass suspended b" a string so that its movement is constrained to a circle around a pivot point. The mass of a simple pendulum supported b" a light string accelerates due to the force of gravit". The moment of inertia of the pendulum about the pivot point is its resistance to movement due to the tor#ue due to gravit". $athematicall"% it is the ratio of the tor#ue due to gravit" about the pivot of a pendulum to its angular acceleration about that pivot point. 'or a simple pendulum this is found to be the product the mass of the particle with the s#uare of its distance to the pivot. This is shown as follows@ The force of gravit" on the mass of a simple pendulum generates a tor#ue around the axis perpendicular to the plane of the pendulum movement. <ere F is the tangential component of the net force on the mass. Associated with this tor#ue is an angular acceleration of the string and mass around this axis. Since the mass is constrained to a circle the tangential acceleration of the mass is . Since the tor#ue e#uation becomes@

where e is a unit vector perpendicular to the plane of the pendulum. AThe second to the last step occurs because of the 7A.*.A7 rule using the fact that is alwa"s perpendicular to r.: The #uantit" I B mr- is the moment of inertia of this single mass around the pivot point. The #uantit" I B mr- also appears in the angular momentum of a simple pendulum% which is calculated from the velocit" v B Cr of the pendulum mass around the pivot% where is the angular velocit" of the mass about the pivot point. This angular momentum is given b"

using math similar to that used to derive the previous e#uation. Similarl"% the kinetic energ" of the pendulum mass is defined b" the velocit" of the pendulum around the pivot to "ield

This shows that the #uantit" I B mr- is how mass combines with the shape of a bod" to define rotational inertia. The moment of inertia of an arbitraril" shaped bod" is the sum of the values mr- for all of the elements of mass in the bod".

Compound pendulum

5endulums used in $endenhall gravimeter apparatus% from 18 6 scientific &ournal. The portable gravimeter developed in 18 ! b" Thomas .. $endenhall provided the most accurate relative measurements of the local gravitational field of the +arth. A compound pendulum is a bod" formed from an assembl" of particles or continuous shapes that rotates rigidl" around a pivot. (ts moments of inertia is the sum the moments of inertia of each of the particles that is is composed of.=6>=8>@) 0D) 3= >@01D0) The natural fre#uenc" A : of a compound pendulum depends on its moment of inertia% %

where is the mass of the ob&ect% is local acceleration of gravit"% and is the distance from the pivot point to the centre of mass of the ob&ect. $easuring this fre#uenc" of oscillation over small angular displacements provides an effective wa" of measuring moment of inertia of a bod".=1!>@013D016 Thus% to determine the moment of inertia of the bod"% simpl" suspend it from a convenient pivot point so that it swings freel" in a plane perpendicular to the direction of the desired moment of inertia% then measure its natural fre#uenc" or period of oscillation A :% to obtain

where is the period Aduration: of oscillation Ausuall" averaged over multiple periods:. The moment of inertia of the bod" about its center of mass% theorem to be % is then calculated using the parallel axis

where

is the mass of the bod" and is the distance from the pivot point to the center of mass .

$oment of inertia of a bod" is often defined in terms of its radius of gyration% which is the radius of a ring of e#ual mass around the center of mass of a bod" that has the same moment of inertia. The radius of g"ration is calculated from the bod"2s moment of inertia and mass as the length%=11>@1- 3D1- 6

Center of oscillation
A simple pendulum that has the same natural fre#uenc" as a compound pendulum defines the length from the pivot to a point called the center of oscillation of the compound pendulum. This point also corresponds to the center of percussion. The length is determined from the formula%

or

The seconds pendulum% which provides the EtickE and EtockE of a grandfather clock% takes one second to swing from side*to*side. This is a period of two seconds% or a natural fre#uenc" of F radiansGsecond for the pendulum. (n this case% the length is given b"%

Notice that the centre of oscillation of the seconds pendulum must be ad&usted to accommodate use in locations with different values for the local acceleration of gravit". 1ater2s pendulum is an example of a compound pendulum that is used to measure gravit" called a gravimeter.

Measuring moment of inertia


The moment of inertia of complex s"stems such as a vehicle or airplane around its vertical axis can be measured b" suspending the s"stem from three points to form a trifilar pendulum. A trifilar pendulum is a platform supported b" three wires designed to oscillate in torsion around its vertical centroidal axis.=1-> The period of oscillation of the trifilar pendulum "ields the moment of inertia of the s"stem.=1)>

Definition
The moment of inertia% (% is defined as the ratio of an applied tor#ue to the angular acceleration along a principal axis of the ob&ect% where then H% and ( are scalars% that is

An e#uivalent definition of ( uses the angular momentum L as follows%

where is the angular velocit" of the ob&ect.

Appl" this definition to a simple pendulum to see that the moment of inertia of the mass m about the pivot point at a distance r is

This generali,es to define the moment of inertia of a bod" about an axis S as the sum of all elemental point masses dm each multiplied b" the s#uare of its perpendicular distance r to the axis.

Calculating moment of inertia about an axis

'our ob&ects racing down a plane while rolling without slipping. 'rom back to front@ spherical shell Ared:% solid sphere Aorange:% c"lindrical ring Agreen: and solid c"linder Ablue:. The time for each ob&ect to reach the finishing line depends on their moment of inertia. ADetails% Animated I(' version: The moment of inertia about an axis of a bod" is calculated b" summing mr- for ever" particle in the bod"% where r is the perpendicular distance to the specified axis. (n order to see how moment of inertia arises in the stud" of the movement of an extended bod"% it is convenient to consider a rigid assembl" of point masses. AThis e#uation can be used for axes that are not principal axes provided that it is understood that this does not full" describe the moment of inertia.=1/>: .onsider the kinetic energ" of an assembl" of N masses mi that lie at the distances ri from the pivot point P% which is the nearest point on the axis of rotation. (t is the sum of the kinetic energ" of the individual masses%
=1!>@013D016=11>@1!8/D1!80 =11>@1- 3D1)!!

This shows that the moment of inertia of the bod" is the sum of each of the mr- terms% that is

Thus% moment of inertia is a ph"sical propert" that combines the mass and distribution of the particles around the rotation axis. Notice that rotation about different axes of the same bod" "ield different moments of inertia. The moment of inertia of a continuous bod" rotating about a specified axis is calculated in the same wa"% with the summation replaced b" the integral%

Again r is the radius vector to a point in the bod" from the specified axis through the pivot P% and Ar: is the mass densit" at each point r. The integration is evaluated over the volume V of the bod". The moment of inertia of a flat surface is similar with the mass densit" being replaced b" its areal mass densit" with the integral evaluated over its area. Note on second moment of area@ The moment of inertia of a bod" moving in a plane and the second moment of area of a beam2s cross*section are often confused. The moment of inertia of bod" with the shape of the cross* section is the second moment of this area about the ,*axis perpendicular to the cross*section% weighted b" its densit". This is also called the polar moment of the area% and is the sum of the second moments about the x and " axes.=10> The stresses in a beam are are calculated using the second moment of the cross*sectional area around either the x*axis or "*axis depending on the load.

Example calculation of moment of inertia


$ain article@ ?ist of moments of inertia

The moment of inertia of a compound pendulum constructed from a thin disc mounted at the end of a thin rod that oscillates around a pivot at the other end of the rod% begins with the calculation of the moment of inertia of the thin rod and thin disc about their respective centers of mass.=11>

The moment of inertia of a thin rod with constant cross*section s and densit" J and with length l about a perpendicular axis through its center of mass is determined b" integration.=11>@1)!1 Align the x*axis with the rod and locate the origin its center of mass at the center of the rod% then

where m B s is the mass of the rod.

The moment of an inertia of a thin disc of constant thickness s% radius R% and densit" about an axis through its center and perpendicular to its face Aparallel to its axis of rotational s"mmetr": is determined b" integration.=11>@1)!1 Align the ,*axis with the axis of the disc and define a volume element as dV B sr drd% then

where m B R-s is its mass.

The moment of inertia of the compound pendulum is now obtained b" adding the moment of inertia of the rod and the disc around the pivot point P as%

where L is the length of the pendulum. Notice that the parallel axis theorem is used to shift the moment of inertia from the center of mass to the pivot point of the pendulum. A list of moments of inertia formulas for standard bod" shapes provides a wa" to obtain the moment of inertial of a complex bod" as an assembl" of simpler shaped bodies. The parallel axis theorem is used to shift the reference point of the individual bodies to the reference point of the assembl".

As one more example% consider the moment of inertia of a solid sphere of constant densit" about an axis through its center of mass. This is determined b" summing the moment of inertias of the thin discs that form the sphere. (f the surface of the ball is defined b" the e#uation=11>@1)!1

then the radius r of the disc at the cross*section , along the ,*axis is

Therefore% the moment of inertia of the ball is the sum of the moment of inertias of the discs along the ,*axis%

where m B !"#$R# is the mass of the ball.

Moment of inertia in planar movement of a rigid body


(f a mechanical s"stem is constrained to move parallel to a fixed plane% then the rotation of a bod" in the s"stem occurs around an axis % perpendicular to this plane. (n this case% the moment of inertia of the mass in this s"stem is a scalar known as the polar moment of inertia. The definition of the polar moment of inertia can be obtained b" considering momentum% kinetic energ" and Newton2s laws for the planar movement of a rigid s"stem of particles.=6>=1!>=13>=16> (f a s"stem of n particles% Pi% i B 1%...%n% are assembled into a rigid bod"% then the momentum of the s"stem can be written in terms of positions relative to a reference point R% and absolute velocities vi

where K is the angular velocit" of the s"stem and

is the velocit" of R.

'or planar movement the angular velocit" vector is directed along the unit vector % which is perpendicular to the plane of movement. (ntroduce the unit vectors ei from the reference point R to a point ri % and the unit vector ti B % C ei so

This defines the relative position vector and the velocit" vector for the rigid s"stem of the particles moving in a plane. Note on the cross product@ 8hen a bod" moves parallel to a ground plane% the tra&ectories of all the points in the bod" lie in planes parallel to this ground plane. This means that an" rotation that the bod" undergoes must be around an axis perpendicular to this plane. 5lanar movement is often presented as pro&ected onto this ground plane so that the axis of rotation appears as a point. (n this case% the angular velocit" and angular acceleration of the bod" are scalars and the fact that the" are vectors along the rotation axis is ignored. This is usuall" preferred for introductions to the topic. 7ut in the case of moment of inertia% the combination of mass and geometr" benefits from the geometric properties of the cross product. 'or this reason% in this section on planar movement the angular velocit" and accelerations of the bod" are vectors perpendicular to the ground plane% and the cross product operations are the same as used for the stud" of spatial rigid bod" movement.

!ngular momentum in planar movement

A figure skater can reduce her moment of inertia b" pulling in her arms% allowing her to spin faster due to conservation of angular momentum. The angular momentum vector for the planar movement of a rigid s"stem of particles is given b"=6>=1!>

;se the center of mass C as the reference point so

and define the moment of inertia relative to the center of mass (. as

then the e#uation for angular momentum simplifies to=11>@1!-8

The moment of inertia I& about an axis perpendicular to the movement of the rigid s"stem and through the center of mass is known as the polar moment of inertia. 'or a given amount of angular momentum% a decrease in the moment of inertia results in an increase in the angular velocit". 'igure skaters can change their moment of inertia b" pulling in their arms. Thus% the angular velocit" achieved b" a skater with outstretched arms results in a greater angular velocit" when the arms are pulled in% because of the reduced moment of inertia.

"inetic energy in planar movement

This 1 !3 rotar" shear uses the moment of inertia of two fl"wheels to store kinetic energ" which when released is used to cut metal stock A(nternational ?ibrar" of Technolog"% 1 !3:. The kinetic energ" of a rigid s"stem of particles moving in the plane is given b"=6>=1!>

This e#uation expands to "ield three terms

?et the reference point be the center of mass C of the s"stem so the second term becomes ,ero% and introduce the moment of inertia (. so the kinetic energ" is given b"=11>@1!8/

The moment of inertia (. is the polar moment of inertia of the bod".

#e$ton%s la$s for planar movement

A 1 -!2s Lohn Deere tractor with the spoked fl"wheel on the engine. The large moment of inertia of the fl"wheel smooths the operation of the tractor Newton2s laws for a rigid s"stem of N particles% Pi% i B 1%...% N% can be written in terms of a resultant force and tor#ue at a reference point R% to "ield=6>=1!>

where ri denotes the tra&ector" of each particle. The kinematics of a rigid bod" "ields the formula for the acceleration of the particle Pi in terms of the position R and acceleration ! of the reference particle as well as the angular velocit" vector ' and angular acceleration vector ( of the rigid s"stem of particles as%

'or s"stems that are constrained to planar movement% the angular velocit" and angular acceleration vectors are directed along % perpendicular to the plane of movement% which simplifies this acceleration e#uation. (n this case% the acceleration vectors can be simplified b" introducing the unit vectors ei from the reference point R to a point ri and the unit vectors ti B % C ei % so

This "ields the resultant tor#ue on the s"stem as

where ei C ei B !% and ei C ti B % is the unit vector perpendicular to the plane for all of the particles Pi . ;se the center of mass C as the reference point and define the moment of inertia relative to the center of mass I& % then the e#uation for the resultant tor#ue simplifies to=11>@1!-

The parameter I& is the polar moment of inertia of the moving bod".

&he inertia matrix for spatial movement of a rigid body


The scalar moments of inertia appear as elements in a matrix when a s"stem of particles is assembled into a rigid bod" that moves in three dimensional space. This inertia matrix appears in the calculation of the angular momentum% kinetic energ" and resultant tor#ue of the rigid s"stem of particles.=)>=/>=0>=3>=18> An important application of the inertia matrix and Newton2s laws of motion is the anal"sis of a spinning top. This is discussed in the article on I"roscopic precession. A more detailed presentation can be found in the article on +uler2s e#uations of motion. ?et the s"stem of particles Pi% i B 1%...% n be located at the coordinates ri with velocities vi relative to a fixed reference frame. 'or a Apossibl" moving: reference point R% the relative positions are

and the Aabsolute: velocities are

where ' is the angular velocit" of the s"stem% and

is the velocit" of R.

!ngular momentum
(f the reference point R in the assembl"% or bod"% is chosen as the center of mass &% then its angular momentum takes the form%=)>=3>

where the terms containing

sum to ,ero b" definition of the center of mass.

(n order to define the inertia matrix% introduce the skew*s"mmetric matrix =)> constructed from a vector b that performs the cross product operation% such that

This matrix =)> has the components of b B *+, *y,*-$ as its elements% in the form

Now construct the skew*s"mmetric matrix =Mri>B =ri.&> obtained from the relative position vector MriBri * C% and use this skew*s"mmetric matrix to define%

where =I& > defined b"

is the inertia matrix of the rigid s"stem of particles measured relative to the center of mass &.

"inetic energy
The kinetic energ" of a rigid s"stem of particles can be formulated in terms of the center of mass and a matrix of mass moments of inertia of the s"stem. ?et the s"stem of particles Pi% i B 1%...%n be located at the coordinates ri with velocities vi% then the kinetic energ" is=)>=3>

where MriB ri*C is the position vector of a particle relative to the center of mass. This e#uation expands to "ield three terms

The second term in this e#uation is ,ero because C is the center of mass. (ntroduce the skew*s"mmetric matrix =Mri> so the kinetic energ" becomes

Thus% the kinetic energ" of the rigid s"stem of particles is given b"

where =(.> is the inertia matrix relative to the center of mass and $ is the total mass.

Resultant tor'ue
The inertia matrix appears in the application of Newton2s second law to a rigid assembl" of particles. The resultant tor#ue on this s"stem is%=)>=3>

where ai is the acceleration of the particle 5i. The kinematics of a rigid bod" "ields the formula for the acceleration of the particle 5i in terms of the position R and acceleration ! of the reference point% as well as the angular velocit" vector K and angular acceleration vector N of the rigid s"stem as%

;se the center of mass C as the reference point% and introduce the skew*s"mmetric matrix =Mri>B=ri*.> to represent the cross product Ari * C:x% in order to obtain

This calculation uses the identit"

obtained from the Lacobi identit" for the triple cross product. Thus% the resultant tor#ue on the rigid s"stem of particles is given b"

where =(.> is the inertia matrix relative to the center of mass.

(arallel axis theorem


$ain article@ 5arallel axis theorem

The inertia matrix of a bod" depends on the choice of the reference point. There is a useful relationship between the inertia matrix relative to the center of mass C and the inertia matrix relative to another point R. This relationship is called the parallel axis theorem.=)>=3> .onsider the inertia matrix =(4> obtained for a rigid s"stem of particles measured relative to a reference point R% given b"

?et C be the center of mass of the rigid s"stem% then

where d is the vector from the center of mass C to the reference point R. ;se this e#uation to compute the inertia matrix%

+xpand this e#uation to obtain

The first term is the inertia matrix =(.> relative to the center of mass. The second and third terms are ,ero b" definition of the center of mass C. And the last term is the total mass of the s"stem multiplied b" the s#uare of the skew*s"mmetric matrix =d> constructed from d. The result is the parallel axis theorem%

where d is the vector from the center of mass C to the reference point R. #ote on the minus sign@ 7" using the skew s"mmetric matrix of position vectors relative to the reference point% the inertia matrix of each particle has the form .m=r>-% which is similar to the mr- that appears in planar movement. <owever% to make this to work out correctl" a minus sign is needed. This minus sign can be absorbed into the term m=r>T=r>% if desired% b" using the skew*s"mmetr" propert" of =r>.

&he inertia matrix and the scalar moment of inertia around an arbitrary axis
The relationship between the inertia matrix of a rigid bod" and the scalar moment of inertia of the same bod" about a specified axis is important and rarel" presented in detail. The following calculation expands the derivation presented b" 1ane and ?evinson.=3>

?et a rigid assembl" of rigid s"stem of N particles% Pi% i B 1%...%N% have coordinates ri. .hoose R as a reference point and compute the moment of inertia around an axis ? defined b" the unit vector S through the reference point R. The moment of inertia of the s"stem around this line ?BROtS is computed b" determining the perpendicular vector from this axis to the particle 5i given b"

where =(> is the identit" matrix and =S ST> is the outer product matrix formed from the unit vector S along the line ?. (n order to relate this scalar moment of inertia to the inertia matrix of the bod"% introduce the skew*s"mmetric matrix =S> such that =S>yBS x y% then we have the identit"

which relies on the fact that S is a unit vector. The magnitude s#uared of the perpendicular vector is

The simplification of this e#uation uses the identit"

where the dot and the cross products have been interchanged. +xpand the cross products to compute

where =Mri> is the skew s"mmetric matrix obtained from the vector MrBri*R. Thus% the moment of inertia around the line ? through R in the direction S is obtained from the calculation

or

where =(4> is the moment of inertia matrix of the s"stem relative to the reference point R. This shows that the inertia matrix can be used to calculate the moment of inertia of a bod" around an" specified rotation axis in the bod".

&he inertia tensor

The inertia matrix is often described as the inertia tensor% which consists of the same moments of inertia and products of inertia about the three coordinate axes.=3>=13> The inertia tensor is constructed from the nine component tensors% Athe s"mbol is the tensor product:

where ei% iB1%-%) are the three orthogonal unit vectors defining the inertial frame in which the bod" moves. ;sing this basis the inertia tensor is given b"

This tensor is of degree two because the component tensors are each constructed from two basis vectors. (n this form the inertia tensor is also called the inertia *inor. 'or a rigid s"stem of particles P%% % B 1%...%N each of mass mk with position coordinates rkBAxk% "k% ,k:% the inertia tensor is given b"

where E is the identit" tensor

The inertia tensor for a continuous bod" is given b"

where r defines the coordinates of a point in the bod" and JAr: is the mass densit" at that point. The integral is taken over the volume V of the bod". The inertia tensor is s"mmetric because (i&B (&i. The inertia tensor can be used in the same wa" as the inertia matrix to compute the scalar moment of inertia about an arbitrar" axis in the direction n%

where the dot product is taken with the corresponding elements in the component tensors. A product of inertia term such as (1- is obtained b" the computation

and can be interpreted as the moment of inertia around the x*axis when the ob&ect rotates around the "*axis. The components of tensors of degree two can be assembled into a matrix. 'or the inertia tensor this matrix is given b"%

(t is common in rigid bod" mechanics to use notation that explicitl" identifies the x% "% and , axes% such as (xx and (x"% for the components of the inertia tensor.

Identities for a s)e$*symmetric matrix


(n order to compute moment of inertia of a mass around an axis% the perpendicular vector from the mass to the axis is needed. (f the axis ? is defined b" the unit vector S through the reference point R% then the perpendicular vector from the line ? to the point r is given b"

where =(> is the identit" matrix and =S ST> is the outer product matrix formed from the unit vector S along the line ?. 4ecall that skew*s"mmetric matrix =S> is constructed so that =S>yBS x y. The matrix =(*SST> in this e#uation subtracts the component of MrBr*R that is parallel to S. The previous sections show that in computing the moment of inertia matrix this operator "ields a similar operator using the components of the vector Mr that is

(t is helpful to keep the following identities in mind (n order to compare the e#uations that define the inertia tensor and the inertia matrix. ?et =4> be the skew s"mmetric matrix associated with the position vector RBAx% "% ,:% then the product in the inertia matrix becomes

This can be viewed as another wa" of computing the perpendicular distance from an axis to a point% because the matrix formed b" the outer product =R RT> "ields the identif"

where =(> is the )x) identit" matrix. Also notice% that

where tr denotes the sum of the diagonal elements of the outer product matrix% known as its trace.

&he inertia matrix in different reference frames


The use of the inertia matrix in Newton2s second law assumes its components are computed relative to axes parallel to the inertial frame and not relative to a bod"*fixed reference frame.=3>=13> This means that as the bod" moves the components of the inertia matrix change with time. (n contrast% the components of the inertia matrix measured in a bod"*fixed frame are constant.

+ody frame inertia matrix


?et the bod" frame inertia matrix relative to the center of mass be denoted =(.7>% and define the orientation of the bod" frame relative to the inertial frame b" the rotation matrix =A>% such that%

where vectors y in the bod" fixed coordinate frame have coordinates x in the inertial frame. Then% the inertia matrix of the bod" measured in the inertial frame is given b"

Notice that =A> changes as the bod" moves% while =(.7> remains constant.

(rincipal axes
$easured in the bod" frame the inertia matrix is a constant real s"mmetric matrix. A real s"mmetric matrix has the eigendecomposition into the product of a rotation matrix =P> and a diagonal matrix =Q>% given b"

where

The columns of the rotation matrix =P> define the directions of the principal axes of the bod"% and the constants (1% (- and () are called the principal moments of inertia. This result was first shown b" L. L. S"lvester A180-:% and is a form of S"lvester2s law of inertia.=1 >=-!> 'or bodies with constant densit" an axis of rotational s"mmetr" is a principal axis.

Inertia ellipsoid

An ellipsoid with the semi*principal diameters labeled a% b% and c. The moment of inertia matrix in bod"*frame coordinates is a #uadratic form that defines a surface in the bod" called 5oinsot2s ellipsoid.=-1> ?et =Q> be the inertia matrix relative to the center of mass aligned with the principal axes% then the surface

or

defines an ellipsoid in the bod" frame. 8rite this e#uation in the form%

to see that the semi*principal diameters of this ellipsoid are given b"

?et a point x on this ellipsoid be defined in terms of its magnitude and direction% xBRxRn% where n is a unit vector. Then the relationship presented above% between the inertia matrix and the scalar moment of inertia (n around an axis in the direction n% "ields

Thus% the magnitude of a point x in the direction n on the inertia ellipsoid is