1K10.50 - Rolling a Disc Uphill

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Rolling a Disc Uphill
Centers of Mass, Torque
Area of Study:
Hydraulic Table/Ramp, Disks and Sphere with offset center of mass.

Incline the ramp to the desired angle.  Place the disk or sphere on the ramp and turn them so that the mass is toward the top.  Let go and they should roll a short way up the ramp.  

  • Chiu-king Ng, "Resting a Disk on a Rough Incline", TPT, Vol. 60, #4, April 2022, p. 244.
  • Roberto De Luca, "Will the Wheel Stand Still Uphill?", TPT, Vol. 59, #6, Sept. 2021, p. 430.
  • Rod Cross, "Rolling Uphill", TPT, Vol. 55, April 2017, p. 221.
  • R. De Luca, "Oscillation of a Balanced Hollow Cylinder on an Inclined Plane", AJP, Vol. 89, #7, July 2021, p. 677.
  • M. F. Maritz, W. F. D. Theron, "Experimental Verification of the Motion of a Loaded Hoop", AJP, Vol. 80, # 7, July 2012, p. 594.
  • Andrew Talor, Mary Fehrs, "The Dynamics of an Eccentrically Loaded Hoop", AJP, Vol. 78, # 5, May 2010, p. 496.
  • Antonino Carnevali, Russell May, "Rolling Motion of Non-Axisymmetric Cylinders", AJP, Vol. 73, # 10, Oct. 2005, p. 909.
  • W. F. D. Theron, "The Rolling Motion of an Eccentrically Loaded Wheel",  AJP, Vol. 68, # 9, p. 812, Sept. 2000.  
  • Robert Ehrlich, "D.7, Weighted Styrofoam Sphere and Disk on An Incline", Turn the World Inside Out, p. 46.
  • Janice VanCleave, "85, Uphill Roller", Teaching the Fun of Physics, p. 126.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.