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Basic Physics-Anecdotal Approach,Part3

Basic Physics-Anecdotal Approach,Part3

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Physics lesson covering centripetal force, circular movarment, orbital velocities, Moon's period, G measurement, Cavendish experiment, Earth's mass, Earth density, Eratosthenes, Earth's circumferences, average density, Kepler's law, solar system, Kepler's third law, solar system, Kepler's third law, periods of planets, Newton, Robert Hooke, Saturn's period, numerical examples.
Physics lesson covering centripetal force, circular movarment, orbital velocities, Moon's period, G measurement, Cavendish experiment, Earth's mass, Earth density, Eratosthenes, Earth's circumferences, average density, Kepler's law, solar system, Kepler's third law, solar system, Kepler's third law, periods of planets, Newton, Robert Hooke, Saturn's period, numerical examples.

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Published by: Dr Srinivasan Nenmeli -K on Sep 22, 2013
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Basic Physics- an anecdotal approach N K Srinivasan Ph D

Part 3 In this part, we shall explore the movement of an object in a circular path.
We are familiar with cars running in circular tracks or a planet moving in an orbit around a star or your roller coaster ride with circular tracks. In all such cases, there are two forces acting at the same time. One force is called "centripetal " which is directed towards the center of the circle of curvature. You can feel this force when you rotate a small object with a thread in your hand. The other is the tangential force acting on the object in the direction of rotation or movement. Let us always assume anti-clockwise movement as positive,because planets move in anti-clockwise diratcion.

Centripetal Acceleration The acceleration towards the center, called centripetal , is given by the formula: a = v2 / r where v is the speed and 'r' is the radius. Suppose you swing a ball of 100 grams with a circular orbit of 0.6 m, making 1 revolutions per second, we get the speed v = 2pi.r/t = 2 .pi. 0.6 /1 = 15 m/s The centripetal acceleration is a = 15.15/0.6 = 375 m/s.s The centripetal force F = mass x a = 0.1 x 375 = 37.5 Newton The concept of centripetal force was developed by Christiann Huyghens who was a contemporary of Newton. Circular movement in aircraft When you fly in an aircraft, you experience this pull when the aircraft turns or banks in a circular path.This becomes very important for fighter planes because they make rapid manoeuvres to fight. Since aircraft spees are very high, this centripetal

force can be a big problem. Take the case of a jet plane which turns at the speed of 1600 km per hour or 444 m/s with a radius of 1 km. The acceleration is : a = (444)(444)/1000 = 197 m/ss . 6 This acceleration is 197/9.8 g = 20.1 g. Fighter aircraft may be designed for maximum 'g' turns of 8g or 9 g only. So, such rapid turnings are not possible.You have to increase the radius of turn to say 2 km, so that the 'g' expereinced will be about 10 'g'. Curving and sloping roads You have seen the sloping roads with a bank, to provide greater grip on the road and to avoid skidding. Suppose a car has a mass of m kg [say 1000 kg] and the force acting normally on the road is : F = mg = 1000 x 9.8 = 9800 Newton. This force is acting prependicular to the road. If the road is sloping with an agle of say theta degrees, then the component of this force towards centripetal direction is F sin (theta). This should equal the centripetal force at a particular

speed: F sin (theta) = m v.v/r When a road with slope is designed, they specify a particular speed ,say 50 kmper hour and for that speed; Calculate the theta value. If the weight of the car is mg, the weight acts vertically down. The force in the direction of prependicular to the sloping road is then mg/cos (theta) So we get the final equation: mg sin (theta)/cos(theta) = m v.v/r Canceling m on both sides, we get tan(theta) = v.v/rg -----equation [3.1] Suppose r = 75 m, v= 50km/hour or 14m/s, we get: tan(theta) = 14x14/ 75 x 9.8 = 0.266 This gives an angle of 14.5 degrees. So the road will be built with a slope of 14.5 degrees. Note that this angle or slope does not depend on the mass of the vehicle running on the road! Orbital Velocities and Moon's period A subject of great interest is the orbital velocities of planets and satellites. Moon is a satellite of the earth

and what would be its orbital velocity ?. Note that the force of attraction between the earth and the moon is given by the formula of Newton's Universal Law of gravitation: F = G m1 m2/ r.r where m1 is the mass of the earth and m2 is the mass of the moon. This force must equal the centripetal force: Fc = m2 v.v/r Equating the two we get: G m1/r = v.v ---------Equation 3.2 or v = where m = m1 or the mass of the earth,

the central object. G = 6.673 x10-11 N mm/kgkg mass of the earth = m = 5.97 x 10 24 kg r = 3.85 x 108 m = 19.96 x 106 V = 19.96 x 106 /

= 19.96 x 102/1.962 = 1017.3 [nearly] To calculate the period of revolution:

v = 2 pi r/ T ........Equation 3.3 Period of revolution T = [6.28 x 3.85 /1017.3 ] 108 seconds T = 23.7668 x 105 seconds = 23.7668x 105 /86400 days = 27.50 days Well, the moon's period of revolution,the sidereal month 27.321 is close to our calculation of 27.5 day [0.5% error].[Sidereal month is calculated with respect to fixed stars .] Here is another problem along similar lines . Calculate the orbital distance from the Earth for a spy satellite with a period of one hour: Try this yourself.

Henry Cavendish's experiment How did Cavendish measure the small value of G with high accuracy? Cavendish was one of those recluse scientists of 18th century. He did his great experiment to measure G nearly a century after Newton's time!.

Born with inherited wealth, Cavendish was free to pursue his passion for physics ,chemistry and astronomy, like a country gentleman, locked in his laboratory. He built a large "torsion pendulum" and housed it in a shack at the garden. This pendulum had a thin thread hanging vertically, with a horizontal rod. At the two ends of the rod, he kept large lead balls. He attached a small mirror to the thread. When he brought another ball near one of the balls in the horizontal beam, there would be a small attraction and the thread would twist by a few degrees. The small twist could be measured using a beam of light falling on the mirror. The light beam reflected from the mirror would be followed on a large rule kept at some distance.[This is called an optical lever.] Note that the whole apparatus or the pendulum must be vibration free. Cavendish took great pains to reduce vibration from the ground and also any wind draft in the room. This delicate experiment to measure 'G" is the corner stone of mechanics and Newton's theory of gravitation.

Unfortunately , many text books do not even mention this experiment. Earth's mass We can easily calculate the mass of the earth from Newton's Universal law. Take a mass of 1 kg close to the earth, attracted by earth's gravity. The gravitational force F = m g where m= 1 kg Therefore F = g This force from the Universal law : F = G m M/ r2 where r is the radius of the earth , m=1 amd M is the mass of the earth. Equating the tow equations we get, F = g = G M / r.r 9.83 = 6.673 x 10 -11 x M/ r.r We need to know the radius of the earth. Assuming that r = 6.4 x 10 6 m, we get M = 5.977 x 10 24 kg. This is a pretty accurate value to the present values used . Earth's volume

If the earth's radius is r, then the volume V = (4/3) pi. r3 How to find the radius of the earth? You may be familiar with the ingenious method used by Eratosthenes, a Greek astronomer . He found that a stick in Alexandria cast a shadow with about 7 deg slant. But at the same time, the beam from the sun went straight into a well in Syena, that is vertically down. Eratosthenes correctly reasoned that this difference of 7 deg slant is due to the curvature of the earth..."the Earth is not flat!' --he told his other philosophers in Alexandria who still believed that the earth was flat. The distance between Alexandria and Syena was nearly 800 km. So the circumference of the earth was : C = (360/7) 800 = 41140 km. Dividing by 2pi = 6.28 , we get radius of the earth = 41140/ 6.28 = 6551 km. The present value is r = 6370 km = 6.37 x 10 3 km What is the average density of the earth? Volume of the earth V = 1.33 x 3.14 x (6.370)3 10 18 m3
= 1079 x 10 18 m3

density D = mass/volume = 5.997 x 10 24 kg / 1.079 x 10 21 m3 D = 5.558 x 103 kg/m3 This is indeed the 'average' density of the earth. It is more dense at the core. The core density = 9.5 x 10 3 kg/m 3 and the crust density is only 2.28 kg/m3.

Clockwork of the Solar system and Kepler's laws Let us trace back a little before Newton. Johannes Kepler,[1571-1630] the astronomer, gave three quantitative laws for planetary motion of the solar system. Kepler inherited lot of data from his teacher, Tycho Brahe ,the last of the great astronomers to study the heavens without a telescope. You may be familiar with Kepler's three laws: The first law states that the planets move around the sun in elliptical orbits,with sun in one of the foci. The second law states that the planets sweep equal areas in the orbital plane in equal time. [This law is the conservation of angular momentum. When the planet is

nearer to the sun it moves faster and when it is farther away ,it moves slowly.] The interesting aspect is that Kepler had already introduced the time factor in a measurable way. The crowning achievement of Kepler was his third law-- T2 - r3 law: This law states that the square of the period of planets is proportional to the cube of its average distance from the sun. Well, this applies to other objects moving around a central object, like a satellite circling the earth. This law was easily verified by astronomers and Kepler's work is pivotal to basic astronomy. But it took another 35 years before Newton could derive this relationship or law. [Some historians claim that ,besides Newton, Edmund Halley and Robert Hooke also derived this law. Remember, there was always a bitter squabble between Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke over priorities in gravitational work!] We have all the equations we need ,based on Newton's

work, to derive this law just now. Recall the equations we used for finding the period of the moon in the previous section. The orbital valocity we find by equating the attractive force and the centripetal force: F = G m1.m2/r.r = m2 v.v/r where m1 is the mass of the sun, and m2 is the mass of the planet we consider and r is the distance between the sun and the planet. Simplifying we get: v.v = G M/r Where M = m1, the mass of the sun, the central object. Or V = --------equation 3.4

To repeat, the orbital velocity depends only on the mass of the sun and not on the mass of the planet. Now if the period of the planet [the time taken to make one revolution around the sun] T = 2.pi.r/V [We assume a circular orbit which is quite good for most planets.]

Substituting this in eq 3.4 we get: V = or T = 2 pi. ( (1/ )/

)= 2 pi r/T

or T2 = [ 4 pi.pi/GM ] r3 or T2 = K r3 ---Equation 3.5 This is famous Kepler's third law. The constant K can be computed: G = 6.67 x10 -11 Nmm/kg.kg M = mass of the sun= 2 x 1030 kg K = 2.95 x 10-19 Let us check with the data for the earth: T = 365 x 24 x 3600 sec r = 149.6 x 109 meters T2 /r3 = 2.97 x 10 -19 This checks with K from Kepler's law!! You can do the same calculation for other planets. This remarkable success of Kepler's law is also a powerful 'celestial proof' for Newton's gravitation theory. { Note that there could be slight errors in the values of M, G and r.] There is another use for this equation 3.5.

By measuring the period from astronomical observation , we can calculate the distance of the planet from its sun, besides our solar system. We can calculate the distance of the planet Saturn from its period which is 29.5 years. Taking the period of the earth as 1 year, and the distance as 1 Astronomical Unit [AU], we get: (T sat / T earth )2 = ( r /1)3 29.5 2 = 870.25 = r3 r = 9.53 AU [One AU is the mean distance from the earth to the sun.] The table value is just this! Exercise 1 Calculate the orbital distance for a spy satellite with a period of 1 hour, taking the value of Moon's period as 27.3 days and the orbital distance as 3.85 x 105 k m.

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