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2010-2011 Physics Olympiad Preparation Program

- University of Toronto -

Solutions: Mechanics
Due November 29, 2010
Problem 1
A projectile is launched from the point (x = 0, y = 0) with initial velocity vector vi , whose xcomponent is vxi = 12.0 m/s; and y-component is vyi = 49.0 m/s.
(1.1) Find a horizontal range R of the projectile.
(1.2) Find the maximum height H of the projectile.
(1.3) Make a sketch of the trajectory of the projectile close to scale.
(1.4) At what instant of time is the projectile at the farthest distance D1 from the starting point?
(1.5) The correctly solved problem for the given data must result in D1 > R. If you could change
the initial conditions for launching the projectile, what value(s) would decrease D1 to D2, which
obeys R < D2 < D1: (a) the initial speed, or (b) the launch angle, or (c) both the initial speed and the
angle?
Solution
(1.1) The time the projectile is traveling in horizontal direction is equal to the time it is traveling in
the vertical direction:

v yi
R
=2
vh
g

R=

2v yi v h
g

v 2yi + v xi2 sin (2 )


v 2 2 sin cos
=
=
g
g

(1)

For the launch angle = tan-1(49.0/12.0) = 1.33 rad, we find sin(2) = 0.462.
R = (12.02 + 49.02) 0.462/ 9.80 = 120 m.
(1.2) The maximum height can be easily found by dividing the average y-component of the
velocity by acceleration due to gravity and multiplying the result by 2:
v yi v yi v yi2
(2)
H=

=
2 g
2g
H = (49.02) / (2 9.80) = 123 m

Y
y

(1.3) The shape of the trajectory can be found if the ydisplacement is expressed as a function of x.
y = v yi t

gt 2
x g x
= v yi

2
v xi 2 v xi

v(t)

g
= 2 x 2 + x tan
2v xi

The trajectory is a parabola open downward as in


Fig.1.1. At this point, the velocity vector is
perpendicular to the radius-vector of the point.

x
FIG.1.1

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(1.4) D = (x2 + y2)1/2

(3) (see Fig.1.1).

To find Dmax, one must solve an equation dD/dt =0. As x = 12.0t m, y = (49.0t 4.90t2) m,
D2 = 144t2 + 49.02t2 480.2t3 + 24.01t4 = 24.01 t4 480.2t3 + 2545 t2
dD / dt = 0, for t1= 5.70s; t2 = 9.30s.
D11 = 138 m; and D12 = 116.07 m < D11
Dmax = D1 = 138 m t = 5.70s

(1.5) Equations (1) and (2) give an idea that the initial velocity does not influence the shape of
parabola, because R/H = 4/ tan . Therefore, the launch angle only can be considered to change
D.

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Problem 2
In the system in Fig.1.2, the blocks have masses m1 and
m2; the spring constant is k; coefficient of static friction
between the block 1 and the surface is S, and coefficient
of kinetic friction between the block 1 and the surface is
k. The system is released with zero initial speed from
the position where the spring is not stretched.
Find the maximum possible speed of the blocks.
FIG.: 1.2

Solution
As it is given that the block 1 is released from the
position with unstretched spring, it must be kept by some
force before the release, because this position is equilibrium for the mass 1 spring system but is
not equilibrium for the entire system shown in the diagram.
Let us denote the position of equilibrium of the system with 0 for horizontal and vertical scales
The system is isolated if includes the Earth, but there is one non-conservative force, exerted on the
block 1.
If the system is first studied in its equilibrium
position, the following equations are applicable:
kh + k m1g = T

(1)

h
0

m2g = T

(2)

Solving both, we can find h that gives the position of


equilibrium of the entire system. The maximum
0
speed is expected exactly in this position for two
blocks.
In the presence of the non-conservative force of friction the change in mechanical energy after the
block 1 is released is given by:
K + U = -k d,
where K = Kf Ki = (m1+ m2)v2max /2;
U = Uef Uei + Ugf Ugi = kh2/2 m2gh

(3)
(4)

k = k m1g

(5)

d=h

(6)

Combination of equations (3) (6) results in


2
(m1 + m2 )vmax

kh 2
m2 gh = k m1 gh
2

(7)

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Combination of equations (1) and (2) results in


h=

g
(m2 k m1 )
k

(8)

Finally, the solution for vmax is following:


v max =

g (m2 k m1 )
k (m1 + m2 )

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Problem 3
A light cubical container of volume a3 is initially filled with water. The cube is
supported by a light non-elastic string to form a simple pendulum of length Li
measured from the center of mass of the filled container as shown in Fig.1.3.
Li>> a. The pendulum is set to oscillate in simple harmonic motion. At some
instant ti = 0 the liquid starts to flow from the hall in the center of the bottom of
the container at a constant rate M / t, where M is the mass of the water.
(a) Find the period of pendulum T(t) as a function of time.
(b) Draw a diagram for T(t) for the time interval from ti to the moment a bit
later than the instant when the container becomes free of water.
Solution
(a)
At t = 0, the period of a simple pendulum is given by
Ti = 2

FIG.: 1.3

Li
g
L

Li

At the instant of time t, the period has changed to


h
T = 2

L(t )
g

(1)
FIG.: 1.3(a)

FIG.: 1.3 (b)

The function L(t) is to be found, where L is the distance from the top of a string to the center of
mass of the container. L is increasing at a rate of
L
1 h
1 V
1 M
,
=
= 2
=
t
2 t
2a t
2da 2 t

(2)

where h is shown in Fig.1.3(b); V is the instantaneous volume of water in the container; and d is the
density of water. As water goes away from the container, the value M/t is negative. Eq.(2) gives
for L(t)
1 M
L(t ) Li =
t
(3)
2da 2 t
Substituting (3) into (1), we obtain
T=

2
g

Li

1 M
t (for M/t < 0 )
2da 2 t

(4)

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(b) Equation (4) may be rewritten as

T = Ti 2

2 2 M
t = Ti 2 + Ct
2
da g t

where C is a positive constant and C =

(5)

2 2 M
.
da 2 g t

There are two ways to graph the relationship T(t): 1 to draw a graph T2 vs. t, which will be a
straight line with a slope that equals C; or 2 to draw a required graph T(t) taking into account that
t(T) is a parabola.
T2

Ti2

Ti

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Problem 4
A uniform solid cylinder of mass m and radius R was set to rotating about its longitudinal axis of
symmetry with a constant angular speed 0. Then, it was carefully placed with its lateral surface
against a horizontal plane floor and immediately released. The coefficient of kinetic friction
between the lateral surface of the cylinder and the floor is .
(a) Find the time the cylinder is moving over the floor with slipping;
(b) Find the total work produced on the cylinder by the force of kinetic friction.
Solution
Newtons 2nd law of rotational motion is given by

I = ,

(1)

where I is the moment of inertia of the cylinder; = /t is the angular acceleration of the
cylinder; is the angular speed of the cylinder; and is torque of the force of friction on the
cylinder. The general equation (1) can be rewritten as:
mR 2
= mgR
2 t
As a result,

f = 0

2 g
=
t
R

2g
t
R

(2)

where f is the angular speed of the cylinder at the instant when the cylinder has started rolling
without slipping.
The law of conservation of the linear momentum of the cylinder (same equation defines force) gives
P
g
= mg mv = mgt v f v 0 = gt f R = gt f =
t (3)
t
R
Substituting f in Eq.(2) by its value from Eq.(3), one can obtain
R 0
t =
(4)
3g

(b) The result of the solution of p.(a) can be used to find the value of f as follows:

f =

0
3

(5)

According to the law of conservation of energy the work of the force of friction is equal to the
difference in kinetic energy of the cylinder at t = 0 and at the instant the cylinder starts to poll
without slipping:
2
2
2
I 02 I f mv f I 02 I 02 m 0
mR 2 02 02 02 mR 2 02

=
W=

+
=


R =

2
2
2
2
2 9
2 3
2 2
18
9
6

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Problem 5
You are an astronaut observing a small planet to be spherical. After landing on the planet, you set
off, walking always straight ahead, and find yourself returning to your spacecraft from the opposite
side after completing a lap of 25.0 km. You hold a hammer and a falcon feather at a height of 1.40
m, release them, and observe that the fall together to the surface in 29.2 s.
Determine the mass of the planet.
Solution

From the walk, 2 r = 25 000 m . Thus, the radius of the planet is r =

25 000 m
= 3.98 10 3 m
2

From the drop:


y =

1 2 1
2
gt = g ( 29.2 s) = 1.40 m
2
2

so,
g=

2 ( 1.40 m )

( 29.2 s)

= 3.28 103 m s2 =

MG
r2

G is the universal gravitational constant and G = 6.67x10-11Nm2/kg2.


gr 2
M =
= 7.79 x1014 kg
G

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