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You are on page 1of 7

Dana J. Koczur

Computational

4-30-16

Trajectory with air resistance. This problem involves solving the equations of motion for a cannon ball

including air resistance.

Introduction:

New technology has led to many

developments in understanding physics concepts.

The use of computers to solve mathematical

problems has made it easier to understand and

visualize problems that used to be complicated.

One famous and long enduring scenario is Newtons Cannonball and the study of projectile motion.

These concepts are learned in basic physics courses to develop an understanding of the

importance of physics using only one force to figure out the distance the cannon ball travels1 . One

example of the forces that effects this distance drastically is drag force.

Understanding projectile motion enough to figure in drag force starts with understanding

Newtons Second Law,

F = M A

(1)

This equation shows the effect of a force on the acceleration of the cannon ball. The net force is equal

to mass time acceleration. This can be made into a simple differential equation,

2

m * ddt(r)

z

2 = g

(2)

This equation is used in a uniformly accelerated motion problem. The cannonball is affected by the air

resistance which is similar to fluid friction but in gas form2 .

This projectile motion of a spherical cannonball takes place in a two-dimensional plane. While

the cannon ball is sitting still the only one force of gravity acting on it are the combination of its

mass*gravity, or the weight of the cannonball.

Drag force is a big part of figuring out the trajectory of an object. Equation two works well

when drag force is minimal but this isnt usually the case. When the cannonball is launched there are

two forces that work on the ball while traveling through the air including gravity and air resistance or

drag force. Drag force slows down the cannon ball because it is moving through the air medium. The

equation for drag force is,

F drag = 12CAv2

(3)

of the object, v is velocity, and

air density. Vertically in the y direction the cannonball will be slowing in both the upward and

downward motions due to gravity. The total forces acting on the cannonball are,

F total = F drag + F gravity

is

An example of these forces when the cannon ball in figure 1 is launched at angle beta to the x-axis.

(4)

This experiment will investigate how changes in the drag coefficient of a cannonball will affect

the distance it travels. This will look into an assumption that a larger drag coefficient means the

cannon ball will travel a shorter distance and smaller coefficient will allow the ball to travel further.

The second derivatives that are included in solving drag force complicate finding the acceleration over

time. Computers can help solve these with a few different methods.

Methods:

With these details included there are several equations that need to be considered that

include air resistance (pg.352), as seen in equation 2.

As stated above, this project is in two dimensions so the position of the spherical cannonball

will be stated in two dimensions (x, y). The motion of the cannonball will be tracked through the

two-dimensional plane and the distance and time it travels. The two equations to represent this

motion is velocity and acceleration. These both represent the first and second derivatives for the

projectile motion and r is the displacement in terms of x and y.

2

x = d dt(x)

(5)

y =

d2(y)

d2t

(6)

The x and y values can be visually interpreted from figure 1. In the figure the drag force is

acting opposite of the velocity of the cannon ball. The magnitude of the air drag force is proportional

to the square of the projectiles speed relative to the air as seen in equation 2 above. When the forces

are opposite the velocity they can be written in both the

X direction,

(7)

Y direction,

mg F drag,ysin () = m ddty2 = my

(8)

Where D represent drag coefficient. The drag coefficient uses the dimensions of the cannon ball

included in the velocity. This velocity vector is split between the x and y dimensions seen below. The

force of drag including all dimensions is,

2

2

F drag = R CV

(9)

2 v

Before this is implemented the instantaneous velocity needs to be broken into the horizontal

component and vertical component of where velocity is represented,

2

2

v2 = x + y

(10)

x = vcos () = vx

(11)

y = vsin () = vy

(12)

Rearranging each of these for the instantaneous trigonometric functions in terms of speed of x and y,

cos () = vvx = (x2x+y2)

(13)

sin () =

vy

v

= (x2y+y2)

(14)

With these components taken and drag force taken into account the x and y direction can be found by

rearranging the second order equations of motion and substituting in the trigonometric equations,

X direction,

2

x = R2mC v2cos()

(15)

=

=

R2C

2m

R C

2m

Y direction,

* x + y * cos()

* x + y * (x2x+y2)

(16)

(17)

2

2

R C x(x

)

2m + y

2

(18)

y = g R2mC v2sin()

(19)

= g R2mC * x + y * sin()

(20)

= g R2mC * x + y * (x2y+y2)

2

= g R2mC y(x

+ y )

(21)

(22)

These components of x and y are constantly changing as the velocity components change. Over short

periods of time the acceleration can be considered constant.

These expressions for x and y are two second-order differential equations, which we can

convert into four first order differential equations,

(x), (), (y), ()

Where 11 and 12 become x dot and y dot,

x = vcos ()

(11)

x =

2

2

R2C x(x

)

2m + y

(18)

y = vsin ()

(12)

y = g R2mC y(x

+ y )

(22)

The numerical solutions of these differential equations must be used to get the position as a function

of time. The 4th

order Runge-Kutta (RK4) method is a stable numerical analysis which uses iterative

methods for differential equation approximation. This RK4 function was used where the new values of

the usually complicated derivatives were computed. RK4 iterates through the derivative values using

the old derivative values to compute the new calculated value. Using RK4 with gravity and drag forces

inputted into the equations this can be used to calculate the trajectory of a bowling ball.

Results:

The program has set initial parameters of an object being launched which include initial

velocity (m/s), initial launch angle (degrees), gravity (m/s), and mass of bowling ball (kg). The

components of drag that effect the trajectory of the cannon ball include, cross sectional are of

bowling ball (m), density of the air (kg/m^3), and drag coefficient. The initial parameters are seen in

figure 1. This code produces graphs showing how these parameters effect the trajectory of the

bowling ball. The trajectory with and without drag show how significant drag effects this path.

Changes in the drag coefficient will show how much it effects the trajectory of the cannon ball. As the

drag coefficient value approaches 0 the trajectory of the cannon ball matches closer and closer to the

no drag trajectory.

There are a couple of checks for the program besides just increasing the drag coefficient. If a few

other values are increased while keeping the drag coefficient the same there should be similar results

to the drag coefficient increasing. For example if the cross sectional area is increased for the sphere

but all other factors are kept the same, there will be more area fighting to slow down air as seen in

figure 4.

Testing these changes in the code when different variables are changed verifies the code is working

properly. As expected as the drag coefficient is increased, all other variables the same, the distance

the cannon ball travels shortens along with the time. As the cross-sectional are of the cannon ball is

increased, all other variables the same, the distance the cannon ball travels and the time decreases.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, using Runge-Kutta for the trajectory of a bowling ball was a success. The results

are reasonable when compared to the trajectory of a cannonball without drag force. To make the

program more successful would be to add error in the code for concluding the positions. Changes in

the variables of the cannon ball cause expected changes in the distance it travels.

2 + 2a y

vy2 = v0y

y

v0y = v0sin()

ay = g

0 = (V 0sin())2 + 2gy

y =

h=

v20sin2

2ay

v20sin2

2g

References:

12

1

R.D.H. Warburton, J. Wang, and J. Burgdrfer, J. Serv. Sci. Manag. 2010, 98 (2010).

G.W. Parker, Am. J. Phys. 45, 606 (1977).

3

Computational Physics, Mark Newman. 350 (2013)

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