March 16, 2024
Delaware State University, Bank of America Building
US/Eastern timezone
See you all the the Fall 2024 Meeting on Saturday, Oct. 19 @ JLab/Zoom !

Physics of an Accelerating Unicycle

Mar 16, 2024, 9:00 AM
BOA 101 (Delaware State University, Bank of America Building)

BOA 101

Delaware State University, Bank of America Building

1200 N. DuPont Highway Dover, DE 19901
Talk (15 minutes) BOA 101


Carl Mungan (U.S. Naval Academy)


The free-body diagram of a unicycle pedaled across level ground is analyzed, showing that riders must tilt their bodies into the direction of the acceleration. A comparison is made with an unpowered round object rolling without slipping up or down an inclined plane. A Newtonian analysis predicts an acceleration of the unicycle as a function of the tilt angle that is in good agreement with measurements of an actual unicycle using the accelerometer on a smartphone. This work has been performed in collaboration with Heiko Kabutz, Ph.D. student of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Primary author

Carl Mungan (U.S. Naval Academy)

Presentation materials