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10: Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum

In physics, angular momentum (rarely, moment of momentum or rotational momentum) is the rotational analog of linear momentum. It is an important quantity in physics because it is a conserved quantity – the angular momentum of a system remains constant unless acted on by an external torque.

Thumbnail: The torque caused by the normal force – Fg and the weight of the top causes a change in the angular momentum L in the direction of that torque. This causes the top to precess. Image used with permission (CC-BY-SA-2.5; Xavier Snelgrove).


  • Paul Peter Urone (Professor Emeritus at California State University, Sacramento) and Roger Hinrichs (State University of New York, College at Oswego) with Contributing Authors: Kim Dirks (University of Auckland) and Manjula Sharma (University of Sydney). This work is licensed by OpenStax University Physics under a Creative Commons Attribution License (by 4.0).