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M1A1 Mechanics: Problem Set 1

1. Train A leaves a station at time t = 0 with constant speed v along the x-axis. Train B leaves
a station (from rest) a distance l up the track a time t
0
later and travels towards A with
constant acceleration a.
(a) Sketch the paths of the trains on an x versus t diagram assuming v < l/t
0
.
(b) Find the time t
1
at which the trains will pass each other.
(c) What happens if v > l/t
0
?
2. A particle with an initial velocity v(0) = 0.3m/s and initial position x(0) = 0m is subject
to the discontinuous acceleration
a(t) =

0.15m/s
2
, 0 t 4s
0.10m/s
2
, t > 4s.
(a) Sketch a(t) for 0 < t < 10s.
(b) Calculate and sketch v(t) and x(t) for 0 < t < 10s.
(c) Determine the values of t at which v = 0.
3. Does the r(t) have to be a continuous function of time? Why, or why not? Hint: Think what
would happen physically if the position were discontinuous.
4. A lift ascends from ground with a uniform speed. At time t
1
, a person drops a one pound coin
through the oor. The coin falls with uniform acceleration g = 9.8m/s
2
, and hits the ground
t seconds later. Find the height, h, of the lift at time t
1
. (Hint: If t
1
= t = 4s, h = 39.2
m)
5. By relative velocity we mean velocity with respect to a specied coordinate system. (The
term velocity, alone, is understood to be relative to the observers coordinate system.)
(a) A point is observed to have a velocity v
A
relative to coordinate system A. Show that the
velocity relative to coordinate system B, which is displaced from system A by distance
R(t), is v
B
= v
A
dR/dt.
(b) Particle a and b move in opposite directions around a circle with angular speed . At
t = 0, r
a
(0) = r
b
(0) = l , where l is the radius of the circle. Find the velocity of a
relative to b.
6. The position of a car going around a race track is given by
r(t) = [a cos(t) k] + b sin(t) , (1)
where a, b and are positive constants, a b, and k =

a
2
b
2
.
(a) Sketch the shape of the track in the xy-plane.
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M1A1 Problem Set 1 2
(b) Find the velocity, v(t), and acceleration, a(t).
(c) Find the maximum and minimum values of the speed and the positions at which they
occur.
7. A person standing at the peak of a hill which slopes downward at angle throws a stone with
speed v
0
at an angle from the horizontal.
(a) Show that the path of the particle is parabolic.
(b) For = 0, at what value of should the person throw the stone so that it travels the
greatest horizontal distance?
(c) What about for general values of ? Hint: If = /3, then = /12.
8. For vectors A, B, C R
3
and unit vector n R
3
show that
(a) |AB| = |A+B| if A is perpendicular to B
(b) A(BC) = B(A C) C(A B)
(c) A = (A n) n + ( n A) n
9. For vectors A(t) and B(t), show that
(a) d(A B)/dt = (dA/dt) B+A (dB/dt)
(b) d(AB)/dt = (dA/dt) B+A(dB/dt)
(c) If |A(t)| = c, where c is a positive constant, then A is perpendicular to dA/dt.
10. Suppose that the velocity of an object is given by v = r, where the angular velocity is
a constant vector. Show that a =
2
r, where = ||, if r is perpendicular to .
11. A particle moves outward from the origin along a spiral where the distance from the origin is
given by r = a, where a is a constant.
(a) For the case where (t) =
0
t with
0
constant, what is the tangential component of a?
(b) Now suppose that (t) = t
2
/2 with constant. Determine the r and

components of
v and a. Show that the radial acceleration is zero when = 1/

2 rad.
12. Consider again the position of the race car in Problem 6. If instead we were to write (1) as
r = r() (cos + sin ), what are the expressions for:
(a) r(t)
(b) r() Hint: Take a peek at your M1M1 Week 9 test.