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HS physics help. Two problems. Both are constant acceleration problems.

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Xuxa Borealis

October 7, 2016

48

A rocket moves upward, starting from rest with an acceleration of +29.4 m/s2 for 4.00 s. It runs out of fuel

at the end of the 4.00 s but does not stop. How high does it rise above the ground?

First, with this problem you have the rocket accelerating to a certain speed and height after the 4.00 s.

Second, after the 4.00 s the rocket will continue to move but the velocity will decrease because of the

9.81 m/s2 gravitational acceleration.

So we must first calculate the distance traveled in the time, t = 4.00 s. Also, vi = 0.0 m/s and

a = +29.4 m/s2 .

1

(1)

d = vi t + at2

2

1

d = (0.0 m/s)(4.00 s) + (+29.4 m/s2 )(4.00 s)2

2

1

d = (+29.4 16.0)m

2

1

d = (+29.4 16.0)m = 235.2 m

2

d = 235.2 m

Now for part two: first, we need the velocity after the 4.00 s, after we have that velocity we can find how

far it travels before it stops moving.

Finding velocity at t = 4.00 s.

vf2 = vi2 + 2ad

(2)

2

For this problem we are going to use vi = 0.0 m/s, d = 235.2 m, and a = +29.4 m/s .

vf2 = (0.0 m/s)2 + 2(+29.4 m/s2 )(235.2 m)

vf2 = 2(+29.4 235.2 m2 /s2 )

vf2 = 2(+29.4 235.2 m2 /s2 )

vf2 = 13829.76 m2 /s2

vf = 117.6 m/s

Cool, so now you have that at a height of d = 235.2 m, the rocket is moving at v = 117.6 m/s. Using this

velocity we will now find the distance traveled after the acceleration stops. We can use Equation 2. The

variables are vi = 117.6 m/s, vf = 0.0 m/s, and a = 9.81 m/s2 .

(0.0 m/s)2 = (117.6 m/s)2 + 2(9.81 m/s2 )d

0 = (13829.76 m2 /s2 ) + (19.62 m/s2 )d

(13829.76 m2 /s2 ) = (19.62 m/s2 )d

(13829.76 m2 /s2 )

=d

(19.62 m/s2 )

704.9 m = d

So now we have the distance the rocket will travel from the end of the 4.00 s, until it has been slowed to a

stop. The total distance above the earth is then d from the first part plus d from the second part.

total d = 704.9 m + 235.2 m

total d = 940.1 m

49

Two students are on a balcony 19.6 m above the street. One student throws a ball vertically downward at

14.7 m/s. At the same instant, the other student throws a ball vertically upward at the same speed. The

second ball just misses the balcony on the way down.

A. What is the difference in the time the balls spend in the air?

B. What is the velocity of each ball as it strikes the ground?

C. How far apart are the balls 0.800 s after they are thrown?

I am going to denote the first ball, the one that gets thrown straight to the ground, as ball # 1, and the

ball that is thrown up, and then falls to the ground, as ball # 2. Ball # 1 has a vi = 14.7 m/s, downwards,

and a d = 19.6 m. Ball # 2 has the same speed as ball # 1, but in the upwards direction. It is going to

be very important to keep direction in mind when working through this problem. First we are going to find

the time it takes for ball #1 to reach the ground.

To decide on what equation to use, look at what you have and what you are loooking for.

This part of the problem we have an initial velocity, a distance traveled, and a final velocity. Also,

these types of problems are known as constant acceleration problems, so we have our constant, and known,

acceleration.

vi + vf

d=

t

(3)

2

So plug in vi = 14.7 m/s, vf = 0.0 m/s, and d = 19.6 m.

(19.6 m) =

t

2

(14.7 m/s)

t

2

(19.6 m) = (7.35 m/s) t

(19.6 m) =

(19.6 m)

=t

(7.35 m/s)

2.67 s = t

So the amount of time ball # 1 is in the air is t1 = 2.67 s Next we have to figure out how long ball # 2 is in

the air. This is going to be slightly more involved. First, we have to find the time up to the highest point,

and then we have to find out how long it takes for ball # 2 to fall from the top of its trip.

So like we did before, we want to look at the values we have, and keep in mind what we are looking for

to select the equation we want to use. We have: vi = 14.7 m/s, vf = 0.0 m/s, and acceleration. We are

looking for: t. The winner is the following equation:

vf = vi + at

(4)

0.0 m/s = (14.7 m/s) + (9.81 m/s2 )t

(14.7 m/s) = (9.81 m/s2 )t

(14.7 m/s)

=t

(9.81 m/s2 )

t = 1.5 s

Cool, so that time is the time it takes for ball # 2 to get to the TOP of its path. Now we have to calculate

the time back down to the ground. To get to that time, first we must find how high the ball gets, because

it is that height plus the d = 19.6 m (the height of the balcony), that the ball will be falling back down.

We are looking for: d, distance to top of path. We have: vi = 14.7 m/s, vf = 0.0 m/s, t = 1.5 s, and

acceleration. With all of these variables we have a couple options to find distance. In fact, three options:

1.

1

d = vi t + at2

2

(5)

(6)

2.

3.

d=

vi + vf

t

2

(7)

You can use which ever one you want, and even check your results with the others. I am going to do that

because I am paranoid I am telling you something wrong.

Equ. 5

1

d = (14.7 m/s)(1.5 s) + (9.81 m/s2 )(1.5 s)2

2

d = (22.05 m) 11.04 m

d = 11.01 m

Equ. 6

(0.0 m/s)2 = (14.7 m/s)2 + 2(9.81 m/s2 )d

0 = (216.09 m2 /s2 ) + (19.62 m/s2 )d

(216.09 m2 /s2 ) = (19.62 m/s2 )d

(216.09 m2 /s2 )

=d

(19.62 m/s2 )

11.01 m = d

Equ. 7

d=

(1.5s)

2

d = (7.35 m/s) (1.5s)

d = 11.02 m

Ta-da!

So we now have the totall height of ball # 2 is d plus the height of the balcony, d = 19.6 m. Total height

= 11.02 m + 19.6 m = 30.62 m. So with a total height, at the top of ball # 2s path, we will just use the

simple free fall from 30.62 m to find the time it takes.

We have: d = 30.62 m, vi = 0.0 m/s, and acceleration. We want: t. So we are going to use equation 5.

1

30.62 m = (0.0 m/s)t + (+9.81 m/s2 )t2

2

1

(+9.81 m/s2 )t2

2

2

(30.62 m)

= t2

(+9.81 m/s2 )

30.62 m =

61.24m

= t2

9.81 m/s2

6.24 s2 = t2

2.5 = t

Alright, t for ball # 1 is 2.67 s, and t for ball # 2 is 2.5 s + 1.5 s = 4.0 s (The 2.5 time is the way down, and

1.5 is the trip up.) So the answer to A, difference in time the balls spend in the air, is 4.0 s 2.67 s = 1.33 s.

Okay for part B, calculating the final velocity for both ball # 1 and ball # 2.

Ball # 1 We have: time of travel, t = 2.67 s, initial velocity, vi = 14.7 m/s, and distance traveled,

d = 19.6 m. We want: vf . We can use equation 6.

vf2 = (14.7 m/s)2 + 2(+9.81 m/s2 )(19.6 m)

vf2 = (14.7 m/s)2 + 2(+192.3 m2 /s2 )

vf2 = (216.09 m2 /s2 ) + (384.5 m2 /s2 )

vf2 = (600.59 m2 /s2 )

vf = 24.5 m/s

Ball # 2 We have: time of travel, t = 4.0 s, initial velocity, vi = 0.0 m/s, and distance traveled, d = 30.62 m.

We want: vf . We can use equation 6.

vf2 = (0.0 m/s)2 + 2(+9.81 m/s2 )(30.62 m)

vf2 = 2(+9.81 m/s2 )(30.62 m)

vf2 = 2(300.3 m2 /s2 )

vf2 = 600.6 m2 /s2

vf = 24.5 m/s

You can see that the final velocity of both balls is the same. This is because they were both released from the

same location at the same speed. Their velocities may have been different (one positive and one negative),

but the acceleration, 9.81 m/s2 , is the same for both ball # 1 and ball # 2.

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