newtonian

newtonian mechanics – Energy conservation on cornering bicycle

Summary

The decrease in your potential energy is compensated by the increase in your rotational kinetic energy.

Setup

First let’s analyze a similar scenario in another context to build the intuition needed to understand the original problem. Imagine a horizontal rod spinning around a stationary axis and you are hanging at the farther end of the rod. Let’s say that now you want to get closer to the axis of rotation and thus you try to pull yourself closer to the axis, however you feel an opposing force, the centrifugal force (a pseudo force encountered in the rotating frame of reference whose magnitude is $momega ^2 r$). So you need to do some work against this force to get closer to the axis.

Angular Momentum

But the question arises, where does this work done go? The answer is that this work done contributes to the change in kinetic energy.

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