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Physics In Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a sport in which the body is forced to unleash its full potential and pushed to extreme limits. Physics can be used to exlpain these limits reached and forces involved.
by

Stephen Lopez

on 18 May 2011

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Transcript of Physics In Gymnastics

Physics In Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport in which the body is pushed to extreme limits and people unlock large amounts of potential. Physics can be used to explain these limits reached. The physics of rotation plays a large part of the movement of a gymnast. Angular momentum equals the product of mass, velocity and distance from mass to axis of rotation. When a gymnast leaves the mat, they have all the angular momentum from their push-off that they will get, none can be gained or lost. However, for various moves, the gymnast will need to change their rate of rotation while in the air. How can they change their rate of rotation without pushing off on something? They do this by changing the distance of their center of mass from the axis of rotation. The angular speed increases or decreases by changing the distance between the mass and the axis of rotation. For example, when a gymnast performs on the uneven parallel bars, she may start by doing a giant swing around the top bar to gain angular momentum. When she turns loose and tucks her mass in to decrease the distance between her body and the axis of spin, she starts spinning much faster. Her angular momentum is still constant because no external torque occurs. Newtons Three Laws of Motion: 1. An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. 2. Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object). 3. For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action. M = mv A Little History The earliest evidence of gymnastics can be found in the art of ancient Egypt, where female acrobats performed for the Pharoahs and the Egyptian nobility. From Egypt it was also seen in Minoan Crete for bull fighting. Gymnastics was introduced in early Greek civilization to help bodily development with a series of different sports. However, it was the Romans, after the conquest of Greece, who adopted gymnastics on their own, and developed it into a more formal sport. 1.SOMERSAULT DUE TO HORIZONTAL FORCES- This is the most common way to initiate a somersault, by applying horizontal forces to the feet. Gymnasts "throw" with their upper bodies. "Throwing the arms and head backward and up involves a rotation of the gymnast's arms which also contains angular momentum which is conserved. Somersaults THE TORQUE: When a gymnast performs a somersault or twist on the floor, she usually does a round off or back handspring to give herself more speed to initiate them. These lever like movements are defined as the perpendicular distance from the axis of rotation to a line along which the force acts. The amount of force produced plus the lever is called the torque. The greater the torque, the greater the change or number of somersaults a gymnast will be able to perform in one series. Therefore, the torque plays the role of rotational motion in somersaults and twists. 1. TORQUE TWIST-Gymnasts can initiate twists by "pushing" with their feet against the floor. As with somersaults, the forces that initiate the rotation can be controlled easily if the gymnast "throws" her arms in the direction of the twist before her feet loose contact with the floor. Twists 2.TORQUE FREE TWIST WITH ANGULAR MOMENTUM- No torque whatsoever is applied to initiate this twisting. Suppose a gymnast has initiated a stable somersault and is in the"layout" position. She is no longer touching the floor and her body possesses a lot of angular momentum through her left to right axis. Now the gymnast "throws" her right arm above her head and her left arm down to her side, moving her arms in a clockwise rotation. Her lower body then reacts by rotating counterclockwise. 3.TORQUE FREE TWIST WITH ZERO ANGULAR MOMENTUM- This is called the "cat twist." Gymnast are able to rotate their bodies about the head-to-toe axis even though the body has no angular momentum and no external torques are applied. Like a cat being held upside down who is able to perform a series of motions before landing with four feet on the ground, a gymnast can,with the right technique do this too. 2. SOMERSAULT DUE TO VERTICAL FORCES- The gymnast can perform a somersault without any "throw" from the spring floor,even if only vertical forces act on her feet. In this case, the gymnasts center mass cannot be directly above her feet, this is because she "leans" either forward or backward that the vertical forces produce a torque. 3. TORQUE-FREE SOMERSAULT- This means that a gymnast can achieve a limited amount of body rotation without any torque whatsoever. A gymnast can do this be keeping her legs and body straight and "wind milling" her arms backward about her shoulders, and then her entire body will tilt backwards. The physics of rotation plays a large part of the movement of a gymnast V = V0 + at Fc= m v2/r F= ma Formulas Balance is key Flexibility
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