Skip to main content
Physics LibreTexts

4: Rigid Body Rotation

No real solid body is perfectly rigid. A rotating nonrigid body will be distorted by centrifugal force* or by interactions with other bodies. Nevertheless most people will allow that in practice some solids are fairly rigid, are rotating at only a modest speed, and any distortion is small compared with the overall size of the body. No excuses, therefore, are needed or offered for analyzing, to begin with the rotation of a rigid body. 

Thumbnail: Proper Euler angles geometrical definition. The xyz (fixed) system is shown in blue, the XYZ (rotated) system is shown in red. The line of nodes (N) is shown in green. Image used with permission (CC BY 3.0; Lionel Brits).