Project PHYSNETPhysics Bldg.Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, MI

· · ·

MISN-0-494

NEWTONIAN SYSTEM OF PARTICLES

Classical Mechanics

1

NEWTONIAN SYSTEM OF PARTICLESbyC.P.Frahm

1. Introduction

.............................................. 1

2. Procedures

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Acknowledgments

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MISN-0-494

1

NEWTONIAN SYSTEM OF PARTICLESbyC.P.Frahm1. Introduction

Physical systems seldom contain only a single particle. Instead thereare usually many particles making up larger objects whose size or internalstructure cannot be ignored. The larger objects may be rotating, collidingwith each other or ﬂying apart. One can in principle apply Newton’slaws as formulated in the preceding unit to each separate particle of eachobject and proceed to make calculations. Unfortunately for most systemsof interest there are so many particles (molecules, for example) to dealwith that this procedure is impractical. However, it is still possible toutilize Newton’s mechanics in a very general and powerful way for suchmulti- particle systems. By introducing the concept of the center of massof a system of particles, it is possible to deduce some very useful theoremsregarding the motion of the system as a whole without having to deal witheach separate particle. This unit is concerned with such analyses of multi-particle systems along with a review of some aspects of Newton’s law of gravitation.

2. Procedures

1. a. Study Equations 9.2 to 9.3 of Marion.b. For the second, third, and fourth items in Output Skill K3 (mo-mentum, angular momentum and kinetic energy), the total for thesystem is just the sum (scalar or vector, whichever is appropriate)of the corresponding quantities for the individual particles. In eachcase, the total can be expressed as the sum of two terms one associ-ated with the motion of the center of mass (denoted by a subscript

com

) and another associated with the motion of the particles rel-ative to the center of mass (denoted by a subscript

rel

). Thus formomentum, one has:

P

≡

α

P

α

=

α

m

α

˙

α

r

=

α

m

α

(˙

R

+˙

α

r

)=

α

m

α

˙

R

+

α

m

α

˙

α

r

=

M

˙

R

=

M V

=

P

com

.

5

MISN-0-494

2The quantity

M

is the total mass of the system while

V

is thevelocity of the center of mass. The expression

α

m

α

r

α

is zerosince:

α

m

α

r

α

=

α

m

α

(

r

α

−

R

) =

α

m

α

r

α

−

α

m

α

R,M R

−

M R

= 0

.

It should be noted that:

P

rel

= 0

.

c. Read Marion from eq. (9.13) to Example 9.2 and also Sect.9.4through Eq.9.23 and note that:

L

com

=

R

×

P , L

rel

=

α

r

α

×

p

α

, p

α

≡

m

α

˙

α

r.

d. Read Marion Eq.9.36 through Eq.9.39 and note that:

T

com

=12

MV

2

,T

rel

=

α

12

m

α

v

2

α

.

2. The simplest way to derive these laws is to make use of the results of the previous unit and sum over the particles of the system. (Marionseems to go through a lot of unnecessary gyrations). Recommendedderivations are outlined below.a. From MISN-0-493 (Newton’s second law for the

α

-th particle):

F

α

=

d P

α

dt.

Summing on all particles gives:

α

F

α

=

α

d P

α

dt

=

ddt

α

P

α

=

d P dt.

Now separate

F

α

into an external part and an internal part (seeMarion Section 9.3 through eq. (9.13):

F

α

=

F

(

)

α

+

β

f

αβ

.

6