torque-free motion of a rigid body

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quantropy
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torque-free motion of a rigid body

Postby quantropy » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:31 am UTC

In the wikipedia article on torque free motion of a rigid body, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torque-free_precession) it suggests a way to the calculate the evolution of the object's orientation, but points out that this will lead to errors in the kinetic energy, which can then be corrected for. My question is, isn't there a simpler way of dealing with this? The thing is that angular momentum is fixed, but angular velocity is not. Poinsot's construction (http://www.phys.ttu.edu/~huang24/Teachi ... 6/CH5C.pdf) says that the vector (angular velocity/sqrt(energy)) follows a curve (presumably an ellipse) in the invariable plane, and I would have thought that this would provide a simpler way of describing the motion.

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