# Physics 1.

Mechanics
Problems with solutions
1 Coordinates and vectors.
Problem 1.1. Find the distance between two points P
1
= (r, ϕ
1
) and P
2
= (r, ϕ
2
) (polar
coordinates).
Solution.
s
2
= (x
2
−x
1
)
2
+ (y
2
−y
1
)
2
= (r cos ϕ
2
−r cos ϕ
1
)
2
+ (r sin ϕ
2
−r sin ϕ
1
)
2
= 2r
2
(1 −cos ϕ
1
cos ϕ
2
−sin ϕ
1
sin ϕ
2
)
= 2r
2
[1 −cos(ϕ
2
−ϕ
1
)]
= 4r
2
sin
2

ϕ
2
−ϕ
1
2

Problem 1.2. Find the distance between P
1
= (R
1
, θ
1
, ϕ
1
) and P
2
= (R
2
, θ
2
, ϕ
2
) (spherical
coordinates).
Solution.
s
2
= (x
2
−x
1
)
2
+ (y
2
−y
1
)
2
+ (z
2
−z
1
)
2
= (R
2
sin θ
2
cos ϕ
2
−R
1
sin θ
1
cos ϕ
1
)
2
+ (R
2
sin θ
2
sin ϕ
2
−R
1
sin θ
1
sin ϕ
1
)
2
+ (R
2
cos θ
2
−R
1
cos θ
1
)
2
= R
2
1
+ R
2
2
−2R
1
R
2
cos θ
1
cos θ
2
−2R
1
R
2
sin θ
1
sin θ
2
cos(ϕ
2
−ϕ
1
)
Problem 1.3. We deﬁne elliptical coordinates as follows: r =

x
2
/a
2
+ y
2
/b
2
and ϕ as in polar
coordinates. Find x, y as functions of r, ϕ.
Solution.
y = x tan ϕ →
1
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
x
2
a
2
+
x
2
tan
2
ϕ
b
2
= r
2

x = abr cos ϕ(a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ)
−1/2
y = abr sin ϕ(a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ)
−1/2
Problem 1.4. In elliptical coordinates (r =

x
2
/a
2
+ y
2
/b
2
and ϕ as in polar coordinates) ﬁnd
distance between two points P
1
= (r, ϕ
1
) and P
2
= (r, ϕ
2
).
Solution.
s
2
= (x
2
−x
1
)
2
+ (y
2
−y
1
)
2
= (abr)
2

cos ϕ
2

a
2
cos
2
ϕ
2
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
2

cos ϕ
1

a
2
cos
2
ϕ
1
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
1

2
+ (abr)
2

sin ϕ
2

a
2
cos
2
ϕ
2
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
2

sin ϕ
1

a
2
cos
2
ϕ
1
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
1

2
=
(abr)
2
a
2
cos
2
ϕ
1
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
1
+
(abr)
2
a
2
cos
2
ϕ
2
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
2
−2
(abr)
2
cos(ϕ
2
−ϕ
1
)

a
2
cos
2
ϕ
1
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
1

a
2
cos
2
ϕ
2
+ b
2
sin
2
ϕ
2
Problem 1.5. Two diﬀerent coordinate systems are established on a straight line, x and x

, which
are related as follows: x/a = (x

/b)
3
, where a and b are constants. The distance element in terms of
x is given by ds
2
= dx
2
. Find the expression for the distance element in terms of x

.
Solution.
ds
2
= dx
2
= (
dx
dx

)
2
dx

2
= (3ax
2
/b
3
)
2
dx

2
Problem 1.6. Two diﬀerent coordinate systems are established on a plane, (x, y) and (x

, y

),
which are related as follows:
x

= x cos θ −y sin θ, y

= x sin θ + y cos θ,
where θ = const. Find the distance element in terms of coordinates (x

, y

), if (x, y) are Cartesian.
Solution. Inverting (solving for x and y) we get
x = x

cos θ + y

sin θ, y = −x

sin θ + y

cos θ
2
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Now
ds
2
= dx
2
+ dy
2
= (
∂x
∂x

dx

+
∂x
∂y

dy

)
2
+ (
∂y
∂x

dx

+
∂y
∂y

dy

)
2
= (cos θdx

+ sin θdy

)
2
+ (−sin θdx

+ cos θdy

)
2
= dx

2
+ dy

2
Problem 1.7. Same as above but the relation reads
x

= x cos θ + y sin θ, y

= x sin θ + y cos θ,
.
Solution. Inverting one gets
x =
x

cos θ −y

sin θ
cos
2
θ −sin
2
θ
y =
−x

sin θ + y

cos θ
cos
2
θ −sin
2
θ
Now (cos
2
θ −sin
2
θ = cos 2θ)
ds
2
= dx
2
+ dy
2
= (
∂x
∂x

dx

+
∂x
∂y

dy

)
2
+ (
∂y
∂x

dx

+
∂y
∂y

dy

)
2
=
1
cos
2

[(cos θdx

−sin θdy

)
2
+ (−sin θdx

+ cos θdy

)
2
]
=
1
cos
2

[dx

2
+ dy

2
−2 sin 2θdx

dy

]
Problem 1.8. New coordinates (ρ

, ϕ

) are introduced which are related to the ordinary polar
coordinates (ρ, ϕ) as follows: ϕ

= ϕ, ρ

= 1/ρ. Find the distance element.
Solution.
ϕ

= ϕ, ρ

= 1/ρ →ϕ = ϕ

, ρ = 1/ρ

ds
2
= dρ
2
+ ρ
2

2
= (
∂ρ
∂ρ

+
∂ρ
∂ϕ

)
2
+ (1/ρ

)
2
(
∂ϕ
∂dρ

+
∂ϕ
∂ϕ

)
2
= (1/ρ

)
4

2
+ (1/ρ

)
2

2
Problem 1.9. Starting with cartesian coordinates we deﬁne new ones as follows: x

= ax + by,
y

= cx + dy, where a, b, c, d are some constant parameters. What conditions on these parameters
should be satisﬁed in order that the new coordinates also be cartesian and the measure of the distance
remain the same ?
3
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution.
ds
2
= dx
2
+ dy
2
= dx

2
+ dy

2

2
+ (cdx + ddy)
2
= dx
2
+ dy
2

(a
2
+ b
2
)dx
2
+ (c
2
+ d
2
)dy
2
+ 2(ab + cd)dxdy = dx
2
+ dy
2

a
2
+ c
2
= b
2
+ d
2
= 1, ab + cd = 0
d = −ab/c →b
2
+ (ab/c)
2
= 1 →(b/c)
2
= 1 →
c = b or c = −b
if c = b →d = −a
if c = −b →d = a
and a
2
+ b
2
= 1
Problem 1.10. Four vertices of the tetrahedron are given by four radius-vectors r
i
, i = 1, 2, 3, 4.
Find the volume.
Solution.
V = [(r
4
−r
1
) (r
3
−r
1
) (r
2
−r
1
)[
Problem 1.11. Let r
1
be the vector from the center of the Earth to New-York and r
2
is the
vector from the center of the Earth to Jerusalem. Find the angle between the two vectors (ﬁnd the
lacking data in a geographical atlas).
Problem 1.12. Find the distance element ds
2
in the elliptical coordinates r =

x
2
/a
2
+ y
2
/b
2
,
tan ϕ = y/x. Deﬁne unit vectors tangential and normal to r = const curves and derive their relation
to e
x
and e
y
.
Problem 1.13. Are the coordinates x

= xy, y

= y/x legitimate ? If yes, ﬁnd the distance
element.
Solution. Not good: x, y and −x, −y have the same x

, y

. Let us limit ourselves with x > 0,
y > 0, then
y = (x

y

)
1/2
, x = (x

/y

)
1/2
ds
2
= dx
2
+ dy
2
= (
∂x
∂x

dx

+
∂x
∂y

dy

)
2
+ (
∂y
∂x

dx

+
∂y
∂y

dy

)
2
= (
1
2

x

y

dx

x

2

y

3
dy

)
2
+ (

y

2

x

dx

+

x

2

y

dy

)
2
=
1 = y

2
4x

y

dx

2
+
x

(1 + y
2
)
4y

3
dy

2
+
1
2
(

x

y

x

y

2
)dx

dy

4
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Problem 1.14. Calculate the length of the parabola y = ax
2
, a = const, from x = −a to x = a.
Solution.
ds
2
= dx
2
+ dy
2
=

1 + (
dy
dx
)
2
)

dx
2
= (1 + 4a
2
x
2
)dx
2
s =

ds =

a
−a

1 + 4a
2
x
2
dx
Problem 1.15. Ellipse is given by the equation x
2
/a
2
+ y
2
/b
2
= 1. Calculate the circumference.
Solution. Let x = a cos t, y = b sin t, 0 ≤ t < 2π. Then
ds
2
= dx
2
+ dy
2
=
¸
(
dx
dt
)
2
+ (
dy
dt
)
2

dt
2
= (a
2
sin
2
t + b
2
cos
2
t)dt
2
s =

ds =

0

a
2
sin
2
t + b
2
cos
2
tdt
Problem 1.16. A plane passes through the point r
0
and its normal is ˆ n. Write down the equation
of the plane.
Solution. All vectors in the plane are perpendicular to the normal, therefore the plane equation
is
(r −r
0
) n = 0
Problem 1.17. Find the relation between the unit vectors of 3D Cartesian coordinates and unit
vectors of spherical coordinates.
Solution. First of all, we have
ˆ r = sin θ cos ϕˆ x + sin θ sin ϕˆ y + cos θ ˆ z
ˆ ϕ = −sin ϕˆ x + cos ϕy
ˆ
θ = ˆ ϕ ˆ r = cos θ cos ϕˆ x + cos θ sin ϕˆ y −sin θ ˆ z
Let now ˆ x = a
1
ˆ r + a
2
+
ˆ
θ + a
3
ˆ ϕ, then
a
1
= ˆ x ˆ r = sin θ cos ϕ
a
2
= ˆ x
ˆ
θ = cos θ cos ϕ
a
3
= ˆ x ˆ ϕ = −sin ϕ
5
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Similarly for ˆ y and ˆ z.
Problem 1.18. Decompose unit vectors of cylindrical coordinates using unit vectors of spherical
coordinates.
Solution. We know that
ˆ ρ = cos ϕˆ x + sin ϕˆ y
ˆ
−ϕ = −sin ϕˆ x + cos ϕˆ y
Let, for example, ˆ ρ = a
1
ˆ r + a
2
ˆ
θ + a
3
ˆ ϕ. Like it was in the previous problem,
a
1
= ˆ ρ ˆ r = sin θ
a
2
= ˆ ρ
ˆ
θ = cos θ
a
3
= ˆ ρ ˆ ϕ = 0
and similarly for ˆ ϕ and ˆ z.
Problem 1.19. Let ω = ωˆ z (cylindrical coordinates). Derive ωr, ω(ωr), and r(ωr).
Solution.
ω r = ωˆ z (xˆ x + y ˆ y + z ˆ z) = −ωy ˆ x + ωxˆ y
ω (ω r) = ω(ω r) −ω
2
r = ω
2
z ˆ z −ω
2
r = −ω
2
(xˆ x + y ˆ y)
r (ω r) = ωr
2
−r(ω r) = ω(x
2
+ y
2
) ˆ z −ωz(xˆ x + y ˆ y)
Problem 1.20. Two cities on Earth surface (assume it is a sphere with the radius R) have the
coordinates (α
1
, β
1
) and (α
2
, β
2
), where α is the latitude, and β is the longitude. Find the shortest
distance between the cities. Hint: Arc of the circle passing through the center of the Earth.
Solution. The distance l = Rγ, where γ is the angle between the vectors

OP
1
and

OP
2
(O is
the center). One has

OP
1
= R(cos α
1
cos β
1
, cos α
1
sin β
1
, sin α
1
)

OP
2
= R(cos α
2
cos β
2
, cos α
2
sin β
2
, sin α
2
)
cos γ =

OP
1

OP
2
/[

OP
1
[ [

OP
2
[ = cos α
1
cos α
2
cos(β
1
−β
2
) + sin α
1
+ sin α
2
Problem 1.21. Four vertices of the tetrahedron are given by four radius-vectors r
i
, i = 1, 2, 3, 4.
Find the volume.
6
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution.
V = (1/6)[(r
2
−r
1
) ((r
3
−r
1
) (r
4
−r
1
))[
Problem 1.22. Find the distance element ds
2
in the elliptical coordinates r =

x
2
/a
2
+ y
2
/b
2
,
tan ϕ = y/x. Deﬁne unit vectors tangential and normal to r = const curves and derive their relation
to ˆ x and ˆ y.
Solution. As we found earlier,
x =
abr cos ϕ

a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ
y =
abr sin ϕ

a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ
We have further
ds
2
=

∂x
∂r
dr +
∂x
∂ϕ

2
+

∂y
∂r
dr +
∂y
∂ϕ

2
The derivatives are
∂x
∂r
=
ab cos ϕ

a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ
∂y
∂r
=
ab sin ϕ

a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ
∂x
∂ϕ
= −
abr sin ϕ

a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ

1 +
cos
2
ϕ(a
2
−b
2
)
a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ

∂y
∂ϕ
=
abr cos ϕ

a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
sin
2
ϕ

1 −
cos
2
ϕ(a
2
−b
2
)
a
2
sin
2
ϕ + b
2
cos
2
ϕ

Calculation of the tangential unit vector
ˆ
t. Let us consider two close points on the ellipse:
(x, y) and (x + dx, y + dy). The vector connecting these two points is a tangential vector, that is,
dr = dx ˆ x+dy ˆ y |
ˆ
t. However, we have to take into account that dx and dy are not independent,
since they have to be calculated with r = const, that is,
dx = (
∂x
∂ϕ
)dϕ, dy = (
∂y
∂ϕ
)dϕ
Using this we ﬁnd
ˆ
t =

(
∂x
∂ϕ
) ˆ x + (
∂y
∂ϕ
) ˆ y

/

(
∂x
∂ϕ
)
2
+ (
∂y
∂ϕ
)
2

7
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
ˆ
t is found, the normal unit vector can be found as ˆ n = ˆ z
ˆ
t.
Problem 1.23. Simplify (a b) (c d).
Solution.
(a b) (c d) = a (b) (c d)) = a (c(b d) −d(b c)) = (a c)(b d) −(a d)(b c)
Problem 1.24. Given two non-parallel unit vectors e
1
and e
2
, ﬁnd another unit vector e
3
such
that all three are in the same plane and e
3
divides the angle between the ﬁrst two in the way
ˆ e
1
e
3
= 2 ˆ e
2
e
3
.
Solution. Let ˆ e
3
= aˆ e
1
+ bˆ e
2
. Since ˆ e
3
ˆ e
3
= 1 we have
a
2
+ b
2
+ 2abˆ e
1
ˆ e
2
= 1
Let α be the angle between ˆ e
1
and ˆ e
3
, and β be the angle between ˆ e
2
and ˆ e
3
. We have
cos α = ˆ e
1
ˆ e
3
= a + bˆ e
1
ˆ e
2
cos β = ˆ e
2
ˆ e
3
= b + aˆ e
1
ˆ e
2
Since α = 2β we have cos α = cos(2β) = 2 cos
2
β −1 so that
ˆ e
1
ˆ e
3
= a + bˆ e
1
ˆ e
2
= 2(ˆ e
2
ˆ e
3
= b + aˆ e
1
ˆ e
2
)
2
−1
Since ˆ e
1
ˆ e
2
is known we get two equations for a and b which have to be solved. Please solve.
Problem 1.25. What is the projection of the vector a onto the unit vector ˆ e ?
Problem 1.26. What is the projection of the vector a onto the vector b ?
Problem 1.27. Given two vectors a and b, represent vector a as a sum of two vectors, a

and
a

, a = a

+a

, such that a

| b and a

⊥ b.
Problem 1.28. On the Earth a man is at the point 20

east longitude and 40

latitude moves
in the north-east direction. Express the unit vector along the velocity in spherical and cartesian
coordinates.
Problem 1.29. Show that a straight line is given by the relation r = λa +b, where a and a are
constant vectors and −∞< λ < ∞.
Problem 1.30. Find the intersection line of the two planes r a
1
= d
1
and r a
2
= d
2
.
8
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution. Two planes intersect by a straight line (we assume that a
1
and a
2
are not parallel).
First let us write the equation of a straight line which passes through the point r
0
in the direction
given by the vector l. Since for each point r on this straight line the vector (r −r
0
) | l we have
(r −r
0
) l = 0
This is the vector equation for a straight line. Now, our line has to be perpendicular to a
1
and a
2
,
thus we may choose l = a
1
a
2
. The point r
0
belongs two the both planes simultaneously, that is,
r
0
a
1
= d
1
and r
0
a
2
= d
2
. Let us try to ﬁnd is as r
0
= k
1
a
1
+ k
2
a
2
. The conditions give
k
1
a
2
1
+ k
2
a
1
a
2
= d
1
k
1
a
1
a
2
+ k
2
a
2
2
= d
2
This set of equations always has a unique solution since a
2
1
a
2
2
> (a
1
a
2
)
2
.
Problem 1.31. Write in the vector form the equation for a circle with the radius R, normal
direction ˆ n (unit vector !), and center at r
0
.
Solution. Set of equations:
(r −r
0
) n = 0
(r −r
0
)
2
= R
2
Problem 1.32. Write in the vector form the equation for a cylindrical surface with the radius R
and the axis parallel to a and crossing the point r
0
.
Solution. Let ˆ a = a/[a[. Then the equation is
(r −r
0
)
2
−(ˆ a (r −r
0
))
2
= R
2
Problem 1.33. Prove that four diﬀerent points r
i
, i = 1, 2, 3, 4, are always on a sphere and ﬁnd
the center and the radius of the sphere.
Solution. Let r
0
be the center of a sphere and R be its radius. We have
(r
i
−r
0
)
2
= R
2
where i = 1, 2, 3, 4. Subtracting, say, equation for i = 1 from others, we have
r
0
X
2
= r
2
2
−r
2
1
r
0
X
3
= r
2
3
−r
2
1
9
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
r
0
X
4
= r
2
4
−r
2
1
where X
j
= r
j
− r
1
, j = 2, 3, 4. We assume that X
j
are not all in the same plane. Then we can
decompose r
0
= k
2
X
2
+ k
3
K
3
+ k
4
K
4
and substituting one has
k
2
X
2
K
2
+ k
3
X
3
X
2
+ k
4
X
4
X
2
= r
2
2
−r
2
1
k
2
X
2
K
3
+ k
3
X
3
X
3
+ k
4
X
4
X
3
= r
2
3
−r
2
1
k
2
X
2
K
4
+ k
3
X
3
X
4
+ k
4
X
4
X
4
= r
2
4
−r
2
1
These equations always have a solution (why ?).
Problem 1.34. Calculate a)
¸
i
δ
ii
, b)
¸
ij
δ
ij
, c)
¸
j
δ
ij
δ
jk
, d)
¸
jk
δ
ij
δ
jk
δ
kl
.
Problem 1.35. Prove a)
¸
ijk
ε
ijk
ε
ijk
= 6, b)
¸
jk
ε
ijk
ε
mjk
= 2δ
im
, c)
¸
k
ε
ijk
ε
mnk
= δ
im
δ
jn

δ
in
δ
jm
.
Problem 1.36. Express A(B C) with the use of ε
ikj
and δ
ij
.
Problem 1.37. Angular momentum is deﬁned as J = mr v. Express in terms of angular
velocity for a circularly moving particle.
Problem 1.38. Given two nonparallel vectors a and b build three mutually perpendicular unit
vectors.
Solution. For example, we may choose ˆ e
1
= a/[a[, ˆ e
2
= a b/[a b[, and ˆ e
3
= ˆ e
1
ˆ e
2
.
2 Velocity, acceleration, trajectory
Problem 2.1. A particle moves in the x −y plain according to the law: x = k
1
t, y = k
2
t
2
. Find:
a) velocity, b) acceleration, c) distance from the coordinate origin.
Problem 2.2. A particle moves along the ellipse x
2
/a
2
+ y
2
/b
2
= 1 so that dϕ/dt = const. Find
the velocity and acceleration. Find the radius of curvature.
Solution.
v
x
= ˙ x = k
1
, v
y
= ˙ y = 2k
2
t
a
x
= ˙ v
x
= 0, a
y
= ˙ v
y
= 2k
2
r = (x
2
+ y
2
)
1/2
= (k
2
1
t
2
+ k
2
2
t
4
)
1/2
10
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Problem 2.3. Trajectory is given by y = kx
2
, k = const, and x = at
2
, k = const and a = const.
Find v and a.
Problem 2.4. Trajectory is given by r = kϕ and ϕ = ωt, k = const and ω = const. Find v and
a. What is the angle between the velocity and acceleration as a function of time ?
Solution.
x = kωt cos ωt
y = kωt sin ωt
v
x
= kω(cos ωt −ωt sin ωt)
v
y
= kω(sin ωt + ωt cos ωt)
a
x
= kω
2
(−2 sin ωt −ωt cos ωt)
a
y
= kω
2
(2 cos ωt −ωt sin ωt)
cos( ´ av) = a v/[a[ [v[
= (a
x
v
x
+ a
y
v
y
)/(a
2
x
+ a
2
y
)
1/2
(v
2
x
+ v
2
y
)
1/2
Solution. Second method: polar coordinates.
r = rˆ r, ˆ r = cos ϕˆ x + sin ϕˆ y
v = ˙ r = ˙ rˆ r + r
˙
ˆ r
= ˙ rˆ r + r(−sin ϕˆ x + cos ϕˆ y) ˙ ϕ
= ˙ rˆ r + r ˙ ϕ ˆ ϕ
˙
ˆ ϕ = (−cos ϕˆ x −sin ϕˆ y) ˙ ϕ
= − ˙ ϕˆ r
˙
ˆ r = ˙ ϕ ˆ ϕ
a = ˙ v = ¨ rˆ r + ˙ r
˙
ˆ r + ˙ r ˙ ϕ ˆ ϕ+ r ¨ ϕ ˆ ϕ+ r ˙ ϕ
˙
ˆ ϕ
= (¨ r − ˙ ϕ
2
r)ˆ r + (r ¨ ϕ + 2 ˙ r ˙ ϕ) ˆ ϕ
We have ϕ = ωt so that ˙ ϕ = ω, ¨ ϕ = 0. We have r = kωt, so that ˙ r = kω, ¨ r = 0. Now
v = kωˆ r + ωr ˆ ϕ
a = −ω
2
rˆ r + 2kω
2
ˆ ϕ
Problem 2.5. Two spacecraft are orbiting Earth. The orbit radii and angular velocities are the
11
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
same but one (A) orbit is always above the equator, while the other (B) passes above the poles.
When B is above the equator the spacecraft A is on the opposite side of the diameter. Find the
vectors connecting A and B as a function of time.
Problem 2.6. Express the velocity vector (in general) in terms of spherical coordinates and unit
vectors e
R
, e
θ
, e
ϕ
.
Solution.
dr = drˆ r + rdθ
ˆ
θ + r sin θdϕ ˆ ϕ
v = ˙ rˆ r + r
˙
θ
ˆ
θ + r sin θ ˙ ϕ ˆ ϕ
Problem 2.7. A particle moves according to the law: x = k
1
t cos(ωt), y = k
2
t sin(ωt), z = bt
2
.
Find the velocity and acceleration.
Solution.
v
x
= k
1
cos ωt −k
1
ωt sin ωt
v
y
= k
2
sin ωt + k
2
ωt cos ωt
v
z
= 2bt
a
x
= −2k
1
ω sin ωt −k
1
ω
2
t cos ωt
a
y
= 2k
2
ω cos ωt −k
2
ω
2
t sin ωt
a
z
= 2b
Problem 2.8. Derive the expression for the trajectory length for the motion with constant
acceleration.
Problem 2.9. A particle moves along the trajectory r = a/(1− cos ϕ) in cylindrical coordinates
so that r
2
(dϕ/dt) = l. Here a, , and l are constant parameters. Find (dr/dt) as a function of r.
Same as a function of ϕ.
Solution.
˙ r =
dr

˙ ϕ = −
a sin ϕ
(1 − cos ϕ)
2
l
r
2
(1 − cos ϕ) = a/r
cos ϕ = (1 −a/r)
sin ϕ = ±(1 −(1 −a/r)
2
/
2
)
1/2
˙ r = ∓
l(
2
−(1 −a/r)
2
)
1/2
a
12
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Problem 2.10. Given x(t) = Rcos(ωt), y(t) = Rsin(ωt). Find the angle between the vectors of
velocity and acceleration as a function of time.
Solution.
v
x
= −γ
1
Rexp(−γ
1
t) cos(ω
1
t) −ω
1
Rexp(−γ
1
t) sin(ω
1
t)
v
y
= −γ
2
Rexp(−γ
2
t) sin(ω
2
t) + ω
2
Rexp(−γ
2
t) sin(ω
2
t)
a
x
= (γ
2
1
−ω
2
1
)Rexp(−γ
1
t) cos(ω
1
t) + 2ω
1
γ
1
Rexp(−γ
1
t) sin(ω
1
t)
a
y
= (γ
2
2
−ω
2
2
)Rexp(−γ
1
t) sin(ω
1
t) −2ω
2
γ
2
Rexp(−γ
2
t) cos(ω
2
t)
cos( ´ av) = a v/[a[ [v[
= (a
x
v
x
+ a
y
v
y
)/(a
2
x
+ a
2
y
)
1/2
(v
2
x
+ v
2
y
)
1/2
Problem 2.11. Given x(t) = Rexp(−γ
1
t) cos(ω
1
t), y(t) = Rexp(−γ
2
t) sin(ω
2
t). Find the angle
between the vectors of velocity and acceleration as a function of time.
Problem 2.12. Given r(t) = kt, ϕ(t) = ωt. Find the tangential and normal acceleration as
functions of time.
Solution.
x = kt cos ωt, y = kt sin ωt
v
x
= k cos ωt −kωt sin ωt
v
y
= k sin ωt + kωt cos ωt
a
x
= −2kω sin ωt −kω
2
t cos ωt
a
y
= 2kω cos ωt −kω
2
t sin ωt
ˆ v = v/[v[ =
v
x

v
2
x
+ v
2
y
ˆ x +
v
y

v
2
x
+ v
2
y
ˆ y
a
t
= (a ˆ v)ˆ v, a
n
= a −a
t
Solution. Second method: polar coordinates. As in Problem 0.2
v = ˙ rˆ r + r ˙ ϕ ˆ ϕ = kˆ r + rω ˆ ϕ
a = (¨ r − ˙ ϕ
2
r)ˆ r + (r ¨ ϕ + 2 ˙ r ˙ ϕ) ˆ ϕ
= −ω
2
rˆ r + 2kω ˆ ϕ
[v[ = (k
2
+ ω
2
r
2
)
1/2
a
t
= (a v)v/[v[
2
13
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
a
n
= a −a
t
Problem 2.13. Given v
x
(t) = v
d
+ v
0
cos(ωt), v
y
(t) = v
0
sin(ωt). Find x(t) and y(t). What are
the conditions on the parameters for the absence of self-intersection.
Problem 2.14. Given v
x
(t) = v
d
+ v
0
cos(ωt), v
y
(t) = v
0
sin(ωt), v
z
(t) = at. Find the distance
from the coordinate origin to the particle as a function of time if r(t = 0) = 0.
Solution.
x = x
0
+

t
t
0
v
x
(t

)dt

= v
d
t +
v
0
ω
sin ωt
y =
v
0
ω
(1 −cos ωt)
z = at
2
/2
r = (x
2
+ y
2
+ z
2
)
1/2
Problem 2.15. In a universe all bodies move away from the coordinate origin with the velocities
v = Kr, where K = const. What would see an observer at an arbitrary position r
0
?
Solution.
r

= r −r
0
v

= v −v
0
= K(r −r
0
) = Kr

Problem 2.16. * A rabbit starts to run at t = 0 from the point (x
0
, 0) in the positive direction of
axis y with the velocity v
0
(magnitude !). A fox starts to run from (0, 0) at the same moment and its
velocity v > v
0
always points towards the rabbit. How much time does it take to catch the rabbit.
Problem 2.17. Given a
x
= a
0
exp(−γt), a
y
= a
1
sin(ωt). Find r(t).
Solution.
a = a
0
exp(−γt) ˆ x + a
1
sin ωt ˆ y
v = v
0
+

t
t
0
a(t

)dt

= v
0

a
0
γ
[exp(−γt) −exp(−γt
0
)] ˆ x

a
1
ω
(cos ωt −cos ωt
0
) ˆ y
r = r
0
+

t
t
0
v(t

)dt

14
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
= r
0
+v
0
(t −t
0
) +
a
0
exp(−γt
0
)
γ
(t −t
0
) ˆ x
+
a
1
cos ωt
0
ω
(t −t
0
) ˆ y
+
a
0
γ
2
[exp(−γt) −exp(−γt
0
)] ˆ x

a
1
ω
2
[sin ωt −sin ωt
0
] ˆ y
Problem 2.18. Given v
x
= v
0x
exp(−γt), v
y
= v
0y
sin(ωt), v
z
= v
0z
+ at. Write down the
expression for the path length (integral).
Problem 2.19. Given x = x
0
cos(ωt), y = y
0
sin(ωt), x
0
= y
0
, ﬁnd the tangential and normal
components of the acceleration.
Problem 2.20. * A body starts from the equator of the sphere (“Earth”) with the radius R and
moves all the time in the north-east direction so that the velocity magnitude v remains constant.
Where does it stop and how much time does it take ?
3 Inertial and noninertial reference frames
Problem 3.1. A plane takes oﬀ with the acceleration 0.5[g[ at the angle 30

to the horizon. What
is the weight of the 75 kg passenger ?
Solution.
W = m[g +a[ = m

(g + a sin θ)
2
+ a
2
cos θ
2
Problem 3.2. What should be the length of the day on Earth to compensate the gravity at the
equator ?
Solution.
g = ω
2
R, T =

ω
= 2π

R
g
Problem 3.3. A body starts moving with the velocity v from the center of the rotating disk
(angular velocity ω). There are no external forces. Describe the motion from the point of view of
the rotating observer.
Solution.
x = vt, y = 0
x

= x cos ωt −y sin ωt = vt cos ωt
15
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
y

= x sin ωt + y cos ωt = vt sin ωt
Problem 3.4. What is the weight of a standing 1000 kg car on the equator ? What is its weight
if it is moving in the east direction with the velocity 300 km/hour ?
Solution.
W = mg −mω
2
R
W = mg −mω
2
R −2mvω
Problem 3.5. A biker enters a quarter-circle turn of the radius R with the velocity v. What is
the angle between the biker’s body and the vertical ?
Solution.
tan θ = a/g =
v
2
gr
Problem 3.6. A body hangs on a rope from the ceiling in a standing train. The train starts
moving with the acceleration a. What is the angle between the rope and the vertical ?
Problem 3.7. A body hangs on a rope from the ceiling in a rotating (angular velocity ω) cell.
The distance from the rotation center is r. What is the angle between the rope and the vertical ?
Problem 3.8. A horizontal carousel rotates with the angular velocity ω. What is the weight of
a person who sits at the radius R ?
Problem 3.9. A project of a space station suggests rotation in order to produce artiﬁcial gravity.
If the diameter of the station is 20 m, what should be the rotation period in order to produce the
gravity equivalent to 0.5g ?
Problem 3.10. A body is moving along x axis with constant velocity v
x
in the inertial (standing)
frame. Write down x

(t) and y

(t) in the rotating frame. What is the direction of acceleration as a
function of time in the rotating frame ?
Solution.
x

= v
x
t cos ωt
y

= v
x
t sin ωt
a

x
=
¨
x

= −2ωv
x
sin ωt −ω
2
v
x
t cos ωt
a

y
=
¨
y

= 2ωv
x
cos ωt −ω
2
v
x
t sin ωt
16
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Problem 3.11. A body falls with the velocity v = gτ[1 − exp(−t/τ)] (because of the air drag
force). Write down the second Newton law in its frame.
Solution.
A = ˙ v = g exp(−t/τ)
ma = F −mA
Problem 3.12. A river ﬂows from the north to the south in the northern hemisphere at the
latitude θ. The ﬂow velocity is v and the river width is L. What is the diﬀerence of the water level
at the western and eastern coasts ? (Hint: Coriolis.)
Solution.
a
x
= 2ω cos θv
a
y
= g
h/L = a
x
/a
y
=
2ωv cos θ
g
4 Particle dynamics, Newton laws
Problem 4.1. A particle is moving so that ϕ = at
2
, r = r
0
exp(bt), where a, b, and r
0
are
constants. Find the force.
Problem 4.2. A body (mass m) starts falling. The air friction force is F
f
= −kv, where k = const
and v is the body velocity. Find v(t) and r(t).
Solution.
v = v ˆ z
m˙ v = mg −kv
ln
mg −kv
mg
=
kt
m
v =
mg
k
(1 −exp(−kt/m))
Problem 4.3. A body (mass m) is thrown horizontally with the initial velocity v
0
. The air
friction force is F
f
= −kv, where k = const and v is the body velocity. Find v(t) and r(t).
17
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution.
m˙ v
x
= −kv
x
m˙ v
y
= mg −kv
y
v
x
= v
0
exp(−kt/m)
v
y
=
mg
k
(1 −exp(−kt/m))
Problem 4.4. Force F
x
= F
0
sin
2
(ωt) acts on a particle (mass m) which is initially at rest. Find
v(t) and r(t).
Solution.
m˙ v
x
= F
0
sin
2
(ωt) =
1
2
F
0
[1 −cos(2ωt)]
x =
F
0
2m
¸
t −
1

sin(2ωt)

Problem 4.5. At high speeds the air drag force (friction) is F
f
= −kvv. A body is falling
vertically in the air with the initial velocity v
0
. Find v(t) and r(t).
Solution.
m˙ v = mg −kv
2

v
0
dv

mg/k −v

2
=
kt
m
ln
[mg/k −v
2
[
mg/k
= 2

mg
k
kt
m
Problem 4.6. A charged particle (charge q, mass m) is accelerated by the electric ﬁeld E =
E
1
sin(ω
1
t)ˆ e
x
+ E
2
sin(ω
2
t)ˆ e
y
. Find the trajectory.
Problem 4.7. A charged particle moves with constant velocity v ⊥ B (B - magnetic ﬁeld). Find
the electric ﬁeld.
Problem 4.8. A charged particle (mass m, charge q, velocity v ) enters a cylinder with the length
l. The entry point is at the cylinder axis, and the particles enters at the angle α to the axis. There
is a homogeneous magnetic ﬁeld along the axis inside the cylinder. At what distance from the axis
18
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
the particle leaves the cylinder ?
Problem 4.9. A charged particle (mass m, charge q) is at rest in an homogeneous magnetic ﬁeld
B = (0, 0, B). Suddenly, at t = 0 an electric ﬁeld E = (0, E, 0) is switched on. The electric ﬁeld
is suddenly switched oﬀ at t = T/2, where T = 2π/([q[B/m). Describe the motion of the particle.
What is its ﬁnal energy ?
5 Potential energy, conservation laws
Problem 5.1. For each of the forces given below check whether it is conservative and ﬁnd the
potential energy, if possible:
a) F
x
= 2yz(1 −6xyz), F
y
= 2xz(1 −6xyz), F
z
= 2xy(1 −6xyz)
b) F
x
= y
2
+z
2
+2(xy +yz +zx), F
y
= x
2
+z
2
+2(xy +yz +zx), F
z
= y
2
+x
2
+2(xy +yz +zx)
Problem 5.2. Potential energy is given by U = a/r
2
−b/r. At what r a particle is in equilibrium
?
Problem 5.3. Potential energy is given by U(x) = k[x[ (one-dimensional motion). Find the
period of the bound motion of the particle with the energy E > 0.
Solution.
v
x
= ±

2
m
(E −k[x[)
dt =
dx
v
x
T = 2

E/k
−E/k
dx

2
m
(E −k[x[)
= 4

E/k
0
dx

2
m
(E −kx)
=
8
k

m
2

E −kx[
0
E/k
=
8
k

mE
2
Problem 5.4. Force is given by F
ρ
= a/ρ
2
, F
ϕ
= b sin ϕ/ρ
2
(cylindrical coordinates). Is the force
conservative ? If yes, ﬁnd the potential. What is conserved in this force ?
19
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution. Let the force be potential, then
F
ρ
= −
∂U
∂ρ
F
ϕ
= −
1
ρ
∂U
∂ϕ
∂F
ρ
∂ϕ
=
∂ρF
ϕ
∂ρ
0 = −
b sin ϕ
ρ
2
Not potential.
Problem 5.5. Potential energy is given in polar coordinates by U = a cos ϕ/ρ. Find the force. Is
angular momentum conserved ? Find the torque at (ρ, ϕ).
Solution.
F = −
∂U
∂ρ
ˆ ρ −
1
ρ
∂U
∂ϕ
ˆ ϕ
=
a cos ϕ
ρ
2
ˆ ρ +
a sin ϕ
ρ
2
ˆ ϕ
τ = r F
= ρ ˆ ρ (
a cos ϕ
ρ
2
ˆ ρ +
a sin ϕ
ρ
2
ˆ ϕ)
=
a sin ϕ
ρ
ˆ z
Problem 5.6. A particle orbit is r = a(1 −cos ϕ). Find the central force.
Solution.
U(r) = E −
m
2
˙ r
2

J
2
2mr
2
˙ r = a sin ϕ ˙ ϕ
˙ r
2
= a
2
sin
2
ϕ ˙ ϕ
2
= [a
2
−(a −r)
2
]

J
mr
2

2
Problem 5.7. A bead (mass m) is moving on a circularly shaped wire (r = const) without friction
and is connected to the two points, P
1
= (0, −r/2) and P
2
= (0, r/2), with identical springs (spring
constant k) of initially zero length (so that [F[ = kl where l is the length of the spring). a) Write
down the force vectors. b) Derive the potential energy (if the forces are conservative). c) Find the
20
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
velocity as a function of angle ϕ (for a given energy). c) Find the angular momentum relative to the
coordinate origin as a function of ϕ.
Solution. Let r
1
= (0, −r/2), r
2
= (0, r/2) = −r
1
F
1
= −k(r −r
1
)
F
2
= −k(r −r
2
)
U =
k
2

(r −r
1
)
2
+ (r −r
2
)
2

=
k
2

2r
2
+ 2r
2
1

Problem 5.8. A bead (mass m) is moving on an elliptically shaped (r = p/(1 − cos ϕ) wire
without friction. The bead is attracted to the focus (0, 0) by the force inversely proportional to the
distance r
1
squared between the bead and the focus, [F[
1
= k
1
/r
2
1
. The bead is attracted to the
center of the ellipse by the force proportional to the distance r
2
between the bead and the center,
[F[
2
= k
2
r
2
. a) Write down the force vectors. b) Derive the potential energy (if the forces are
conservative). c) Find the velocity as a function of angle ϕ (for a given energy). c) Find the angular
momentum relative to the coordinate origin as a function of ϕ.
Problem 5.9. In a galaxy the gravitational potential (potential energy) is U = −k/r
α
, 0 < α < 1.
Find the relation between the total energy and angular momentum for circular orbits. Find the
dependence of the orbit period on the radius.
Solution.
U
eff
= −
k
r
α
+
J
2
2mr
2
˙ r = 0 ⇒
dU
eff
dr
= 0
E = U
eff
Problem 5.10. A particle moves under the inﬂuence of the body O which is in the coordinate
origin. In the beginning the particle is at a very large distance from O, moves with the velocity v and
would pass at the distance l from O if there were no interaction (this is called impact parameter).
What is the minimal distance between the particle and O for the potential energy is U = k/r
α
(analyze k > 0 and k < 0).
Solution.
J = mvl
21
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
E =
mv
2
2
= U +
J
2
2mr
2
Problem 5.11. Find x(t) for a particle with E = 0 in the potential energy U(x) = −ax
2
/2+bx
4
/4.
(Hint: x →0 for t →−∞.)
Solution.
˙ x = ±

2(E −U)/m
= ±

2(ax
2
/2 −bx
4
/4)/m
t =

dx

2(ax
2
/2 −bx
4
/4)/m
Problem 5.12. A satellite of the mass m, moving in the Earth potential U(r) = −k/r, has
the total energy E and angular momentum J. Find the maximum (apogee) and minimum (perigee)
distance from the Earth.
Problem 5.13. A particle (mass m) is moving in the central ﬁeld U = −k/r on a circular orbit
r = r
0
. The energy and angular momentum suddenly are changed by ∆E and ∆J. What are the
maximal and minimal distances from the attracting body on the new orbit ?
6 Oscillations
Problem 6.1. Find the frequency of small oscillations of a particle (mass m) near the equilibrium
in the potential U(x) = a/x
13
−b/x
7
.
Solution. Equilibrium: dU/dx = 0 → −13a/x
14
+ 7b/x
8
= 0 → x
0
= (13a/7b)
1/6
. Taylor
expansion: d
2
U/dx
2
= 182a/x
15
0
−56b/x
9
0
. Now ω
2
= (182a/x
15
0
−56b/x
9
0
)/m.
Problem 6.2. A particle is in the stable equilibrium in the potential energy U(x) = U
0
[1 −
l
2
/(l
2
+x
2
)]. Suddenly it gets a small addition of energy E

. Assuming that the oscillations are small
ﬁnd the frequency and amplitude.
Problem 6.3. A particle moves in a well of the shape y = ax
2
without friction (potential energy
U = mgy). Show that the motion can be described as a harmonic oscillation and ﬁnd the frequency.
Solution. Potential energy U = mgy = mgax
2
. Kinetic energy
K = (m/2)( ˙ x
2
+ ˙ y
2
) =
m
2
(1 + 4a
2
x
2
) ˙ x
2
22
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
When ax <1 we have K ≈
m
2
˙ x
2
and ω
2
= 2ga.
Problem 6.4. A body with the mass m is attached to a spring (spring constant k). The other
end of the spring is brought into the motion according to the law x = x
0
cos(ωt). The friction acting
on the body is F
x
= −bv
x
. Show that the body can oscillate with a constant amplitude and ﬁnd this
amplitude.
Solution. Let y be the coordinate of the body. Then F = −k∆l = −k(y −x). We have
m¨ y = −k(y −x) −b ˙ y ⇒m¨ y + b ˙ y + ky = kx
0
cos(ωt)
Therefore, y = Acos(ωt −φ). Substitute and complete.
Problem 6.5. Find the motion of an oscillator with the natural frequency ω
0
and mass m under
the force F = F
0
+ F
1
cos(ωt), ω = ω
0
.
Solution. If F = F
0
the solution is x
1
= F
0
/mω
2
. When F = F
1
cos(ωt) the solution is
x
2
= Acos(ωt −φ). The total solutions is x
1
+ x
2
.
Problem 6.6. Find the frequency of small radial oscillations of a particle with a mass m near a
circular orbit r = r
0
in a central potential U(r) = −k/r.
Solution. U
eff
= −k/r + J
2
/2mr
2
. Equilibrium: k/r
2
− J
2
/mr
3
= 0 ⇒ r
0
= J
2
/km. Taylor:
d
2
U
eff
/dr
2
= −2k/r
3
0
+ 3J
2
/mr
4
0
and ω
2
= (−2k/r
3
0
+ 3J
2
/mr
4
0
)/m.
Problem 6.7. Find the frequency of small radial oscillations of a particle with a mass m near a
circular orbit r = r
0
in a central potential U(r).
Problem 6.8. Find the average power of the external force F = F
0
cos(ωt) for the oscillator:
m¨ x + Γ˙ x + mω
2
0
x = F(t).
Solution. Substitute x = C
1
cos(ωt) + C
2
sin(ωt):

2
0
−ω
2
)(C
1
cos(ωt) + C
2
sin(ωt)) + ωΓ(−C
1
sin(ωt) + C
2
cos(ωt)) = F
0
cos(ωt)/m

2
0
−ω
2
)C
1
+ ωΓC
2
= F
0
/m

2
0
−ω
2
)C
2
−ωΓC
1
= 0
C
1
= (ω
2
0
−ω
2
)C
2
/ωΓ
C
2
=
F
0
ωΓ
m[(ω
2
0
−ω
2
)
2
+ Γ
2
ω
2
]
P = Fv
x
= F
0
cos(ωt)ω(−C
1
sin(ωt) + C
2
cos(ωt))
'P` =
1
2
F
0
C
2
ω
'P` =
F
2
0
ω
2
Γ
2m[(ω
2
0
−ω
2
)
2
+ Γ
2
ω
2
]
23
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Problem 6.9. A bead of the mass m can move on a straight wire along y axis without friction.
The bead is connected to two springs (spring constant k, length a). The springs are connected to
the points (−l, 0) and (l, 0), l > a, respectively. Initially the bead starts moving from (0, 0) with the
velocity v. Assuming that the the oscillations are small, ﬁnd their frequency and amplitude.
Solution.
E =
m˙ y
2
2
+ 2
1
2
k(

l
2
+ y
2
−a)
2

m˙ y
2
2
+
1
2
2k[(l −a)
2
+
y
2
(l −a)
l
]
ω
2
=
2k(l −a)
ml
Problem 6.10. A particle is moving in the magnetic ﬁeld B = (0, 0, B), B = const, and electric
ﬁeld E = (E cos(ωt), 0, 0), ω = [q[B/m. Find v(t).
m˙ v
x
= qE cos(ωt) + qv
y
B
m˙ v
y
= −qv
x
B ⇒v
x
= −(m/qB) ˙ v
y
−(m
2
/qB) ¨ v
y
= qE cos(ωt) + qv
y
B
¨ v
y
+ Ω
2
v
y
= F cos(ωt), Ω = qB/m, F = −Ω
2
E/B
Substitute v
y
= Acos(ωt −φ).
Problem 6.11. A particle with the mass m is moving in x − y plane with the potential energy
U =
1
2
k(x
2
+ y
2
). Initially the particle is in the position (a, 0) and its velocity is (0, v
0
). Find the
trajectory.
7 Rotation of a rigid body
Problem 7.1. A disk of the mass m and radius r is connected to two parallel identical springs
(k, l) as shown in the ﬁgure.
24
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems

m˙ y
2
2
+
1
2
· 2k[(l −a)
2
+
y
2
(l −a)
l
]
ω
2
=
2k(l −a)
ml
Problem 6.9. A particle is moving in the magnetic ﬁeld B = (0, 0, B), B = const, and electric
ﬁeld E = (E cos(ωt), 0, 0), ω = |q|B/m. Find v(t).
m˙ v
x
= qE cos(ωt) + qv
y
B
m˙ v
y
= −qv
x
B ⇒v
x
= −(m/qB) ˙ v
y
−(m
2
/qB) ¨ v
y
= qE cos(ωt) + qv
y
B
¨ v
y
+Ω
2
v
y
= F cos(ωt), Ω = qB/m, F = −Ω
2
E/B
Substitute v
y
= Acos(ωt −φ).
Problem 6.10. A particle with the mass m is moving in x − y plane with the potential energy
U =
1
2
k(x
2
+ y
2
). Initially the particle is in the position (a, 0) and its velocity is (0, v
0
). Find the
trajectory.
7 Rotation of a rigid body
Problem 7.1. A disk of the mass m and radius r is connected to two parallel identical springs
(k, l) as shown in the ﬁgure.
d d
l l
Find the frequency of rotational oscillations around the center of the disk.
22
Find the frequency of rotational oscillations around the center of the disk.
Solution. Let the disk rotate by a small angle θ <1. The total energy is E = I
˙
θ
2
/2+2
1
2
k(dθ)
2
,
so that ω
2
= 2kd
2
/I, where I = mr
2
/2.
Problem 7.2. A ball of the radius r rotates with the angular velocity ω around the horizontal
axis passing through the center-of-mass. The ball is carefully put on a horizontal surface with the
friction coeﬃcient µ. Find v
cm
(t).
Solution. The ball starts to move with sliding so that the friction force F = µmg accelerates
the ball but the torque N = Fr = µmgr decelerates the rotation:
m˙ v = µmg ⇒v = µgt
I ˙ ω = −µmgr ⇒ω = ω
0
−(µmgr/I)t
where I = (2/5)mr
2
. When v = ωr the sliding stops, the friction force vanishes and the ball continues
to roll without sliding so that v and ω no longer change. This happens when
µgt = ω
0
r −(µmgr
2
/I)t ⇒t = ω
0
r/µg(1 + mr
2
/I)
and the velocity is
v = ω
0
r/(1 + mr
2
/I)
Problem 7.3. A cylinder of the radius a is rolling without sliding inside a larger cylinder of the
radius R as shown in the ﬁgure (vertical cross-section).
25
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution. Let the disk rotate by a small angle θ 1. The total energy is E = I
˙
θ
2
/2+2·
1
2
k(dθ)
2
,
so that ω
2
= 2kd
2
/I, where I = mr
2
/2.
Problem 7.2. A ball of the radius r rotates with the angular velocity ω around the horizontal
axis passing through the center-of-mass. The ball is carefully put on a horizontal surface with the
friction coeﬃcient µ. Find v
cm
(t).
Solution. The ball starts to move with sliding so that the friction force F = µmg accelerates
the ball but the torque N = Fr = µmgr decelerates the rotation:
m˙ v = µmg ⇒v = µgt
I ˙ ω = −µmgr ⇒ω = ω
0
−(µmgr/I)t
where I = (2/5)mr
2
. When v = ωr the sliding stops, the friction force vanishes and the ball continues
to roll without sliding so that v and ω no longer change. This happens when
µgt = ω
0
r −(µmgr
2
/I)t ⇒t = ω
0
r/µg(1 + mr
2
/I)
and the velocity is
v = ω
0
r/(1 + mr
2
/I)
Problem 7.3. A cylinder of the radius a is rolling without friction inside a larger cylinder of the
radius R as shown in the ﬁgure (vertical cross-section).
a) Find the minimal angular frequency in the lowest point which allows to reach the highest point.
b) Find the frequency of small oscillations near the equilibrium.
Solution. When the center-of-mass of the small cylinder deviates by θ from the vertical position,
23
a) Find the minimal angular frequency in the lowest point which allows to reach the highest point.
b) Find the frequency of small oscillations near the equilibrium.
Solution. When the center-of-mass of the small cylinder deviates by θ from the vertical position,
it rotates by ϕ = Rθ/a −θ = (R−a)θ/a around its center of mass. The energy is therefore given as
follows
E =
m
2
(R −a)
2
˙
θ
2
+
I
2
(R −a)
2
˙
θ
2
a
2
+ mg(R −a)(1 −cos θ)
Complete the solution.
Problem 7.4. A homogeneous cube is rotating around the axis passing through the center-of-
mass. Describe qualitatively the motion of the axis depending on the angle of the axis with the
normal to the cube side.
Solution. The axis does not move.
Problem 7.5. A hollow cylinder and a solid cylinder of the same radius start rolling simultaneously
without sliding down the same slope from the same height. What is the ratio of the ﬁnal velocities
? Which one comes to the end of the slope earlier and what is the ratio of times ?
Solution. For the rolling without sliding one has
mgr sin α = (I
cm
+ mr
2
)a/r
that is,
a =
g sin α
1 + I
cm
/mr
2
Since v
2
= 2al, where l is the length of the slope, one has v ∝

a. Respectively, t ∝ 1/

a.
Problem 7.6. Two identical masses m connected by a massless rod of the length l are moving on
a circular orbit r = const around the Earth. The attraction force between the Earth and a point mass
26
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
is [F[ = GMm/r
2
, where M is the Earth mass and G is a universal constant. Find the frequency of
small rotational oscillations of the system (masses on the rod) around the center-of-mass.
Solution. The equilibrium position is along the radius, when the center of mass moves on the
circular orbit. The angular velocity ω
0
on the orbit is obtained from mω
2
0
r = GMm/r
2
, that is,
ω
0
=

GM/r
3
. Since the graviational force and the centrifugal force depend on the radius, diﬀerent
forces are applied to the two masses. The total force on a mass at the radius R, rotating with the
rod, is F = −GMm/R
2
+ mω
2
R, so that the diﬀerence is ∆F = (dF/dR)l = (2GMm/r
3
+ ω
2
0
)l =
(3GMm/r
3
)l. If the rod rotates by a small angle θ the resulting torque is N = −∆Flθ, so that one
has
I
¨
θ = −(3GMml
2
/r
3

where I = 2m(l/2)
2
= ml
2
/2. Thus,
ω
2
= 6GM/r
3
= 6ω
2
0
Problem 7.7. A car engine is applying a torque to a wheel. The wheel mass is m, radius is r and
the moment of inertia with respect to the center is I. The coeﬃcient of the static friction with the
road is µ. What is the maximum torque N which can be applied without making the wheel slide ?
Solution. Let the friction force be f, then f = ma and N −fr = Iα = Ia/r. Excluding a one
gets f = Nrm/(I + mr
2
) ≤ µmg ⇒N ≤ µg(1 + I/mr
2
).
Problem 7.8. A bobbin is moved by pulling a thread which is winded on the inner cylinder. The
outer radius is R, the inner radius is r, the bobbin mass is m, the friction coeﬃcient is µ. What is
the maximal force F for which the bobbin rolls without friction ? What is the bobbin velocity after
it moves by the distance l from the rest ?
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Problem 7.7. A car engine is applying a torque to a wheel. The wheel mass is m, radius is r and
the moment of inertia with respect to the center is I. The coeﬃcient of the static friction with the
road is µ. What is the maximum torque N which can be applied without making the wheel slide ?
Solution. Let the friction force be f, then f = ma and N − fr = Iα = Ia/r. Excluding a one
gets f = Nrm/(I + mr
2
) ≤ µmg ⇒N ≤ µg(1 + I/mr
2
).
Problem 7.8. A bobbin is moved by pulling a thread which is winded on the inner cylinder. The
outer radius is R, the inner radius is r, the bobbin mass is m, the friction coeﬃcient is µ. What is
the maximal force F for which the bobbin rolls without friction ? What is the bobbin velocity after
it moves by the distance l from the rest ?
Solution. See previous problem. Here N = Fr.
Problem 7.9. Six identical point masses m are in the positions r
1
= (a, 0, 0), r
2
= (−a, 0, 0),
r
3
= (a, a, 0), r
4
= (−a, −a, 0), r
5
= (0, 0, a), r
6
= (0, 0, −a). The anglular velocity vector ω =
(ω, 0, 0). Find J.
Problem 7.10. Three identical disks with the mass m and radius r each are connected so that
they have the common center and their planes are mutually perpendicular. Find the moment of
inertia relative to an arbitrary axis passing through the center.
Solution. Let us choose axes x, y, z along the disks axes. Then for one of them I
xx
≡ I
0
=
1
2
mr
2
,
I
yy
= I
zz
= I
0
/2 (other components). For the others one just has to change x to y or to z. Thus,
the total tensor of inertia is diagonal I
xx
= I
yy
= I
zz
= 2I
0
= mr
2
, that is, I
ij
= mr
2
δ
ij
. This means
that the moment of inertia with respect to arbitrary axis passing through the common center is mr
2
.
25
Solution. See previous problem. Here N = Fr.
Problem 7.9. Six identical point masses m are in the positions r
1
= (a, 0, 0), r
2
= (−a, 0, 0),
r
3
= (a, a, 0), r
4
= (−a, −a, 0), r
5
= (0, 0, a), r
6
= (0, 0, −a). The anglular velocity vector ω =
27
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
(ω, 0, 0). Find J.
Problem 7.10. Three identical disks with the mass m and radius r each are connected so that
they have the common center and their planes are mutually perpendicular. Find the moment of
inertia relative to an arbitrary axis passing through the center.
Solution. Let us choose axes x, y, z along the disks axes. Then for one of them I
xx
≡ I
0
=
1
2
mr
2
,
I
yy
= I
zz
= I
0
/2 (other components). For the others one just has to change x to y or to z. Thus,
the total tensor of inertia is diagonal I
xx
= I
yy
= I
zz
= 2I
0
= mr
2
, that is, I
ij
= mr
2
δ
ij
. This means
that the moment of inertia with respect to arbitrary axis passing through the common center is mr
2
.
Problem 7.11. Two identical particles of the mass M are connected to the two ends of a
rigid massless rod of the length a. The system initially rotates around the center-of-mass with the
angular velocity ω. One of the particles encounters a third one (with the same mass) at rest, which
momentarily sticks to it. What is the angular velocity of the rotation around the center-of-mass after
the collision ? (No gravity.)
Typical problems for exam
Problem 0.1. A particle is moving so that ϕ = at
2
, r = r
0
exp(bt), where a, b, and r
0
are
constants. Find the force.
Problem 0.2. A particle (mass m) is moving in the central ﬁeld U = −k/r on a circular orbit
r = r
0
. The energy and angular momentum suddenly are changed by ∆E and ∆J. What are the
maximal and minimal distances from the attracting body on the new orbit ?
Problem 0.3. A particle is in the stable equilibrium in the potential energy U(x) = U
0
[1 −
l
2
/(l
2
+x
2
)]. Suddenly it gets a small addition of energy E

. Assuming that the oscillations are small
ﬁnd the frequency and amplitude.
Problem 0.4. Two identical particles of the mass M are connected to the two ends of a rigid
massless rod of the length a. The system initially rotates around the center-of-mass with the angular
velocity ω. One of the particles encounters a third one (with the same mass) at rest, which momen-
tarily sticks to it. What is the angular velocity of the rotation around the center-of-mass after the
collision ? (No gravity.)
Problem 0.5. A homogeneous ball (mass m, radius r) is struck by a horisontal force F in the
point which is above the center by the distance l < r. The time t of force action is very small, but
Ft is nonzero. Find the velocity of the center-of-mass and the angular velocity of the ball around
1
Problem 7.12. A homogeneous ball (mass m, radius r) is struck by a horisontal force F in the
point which is above the center by the distance l < r. The time t of force action is very small, but
Ft is nonzero. Find the velocity of the center-of-mass and the angular velocity of the ball around
the axis which goes through the center-of-mass, if a) there is no friction with the ﬂoor, and b) if the
friction prevents sliding. (I
CM
=
2
5
mr
2
)
the axis which goes through the center-of-mass, if a) there is no friction with the ﬂoor, and b) if the
friction prevents sliding. (I
CM
=
2
5
mr
2
)
Problem 0.6. A source of light is moving with the angular velocity ω on the circle with the
radius R in the plane x −y. The light frequency in the source frame is f. A distant observer (in the
same x −y plane) measures the frequency of received light as a function of time. Find this function.
2
28
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
8 Gravitation
Problem 8.1. What force acts on a star inside a spherically symmetric galaxy of the mass M
and radius R. The star has a mass m and is at bin the radius r < R from the center of the galaxy.
Solution. As if all stars within r were in the center: F = GM(r
3
/R
3
)m/r
2
.
Problem 8.2. A binary stellar system consists of two identical stars rotating around the center-
of-mass of the system on circular orbits. The period of rotation T and the velocity of the stars v are
known. Find the masses and the distance between the stars.
Solution.
l = v/2πT
F = Gm
2
/l
2
= mv
2
/(l/2)
Problem 8.3. Saturn rings consist of football ball size particles which are moving on circular
orbits around the planet. What is the maximal ratio of the ring width to its inner radius if the
velocities at the inner and outer edge should not diﬀer by more than 0.5% ?
Solution. mv
2
/r = GMm/r
2
→r = GM/v
2
→∆r/r = 2∆v/v.
Problem 8.4. Three identical stars with the mass m are rotating so that they form an equilateral
triangle (side length a). What is the angular velocity ? What is the ratio J/E ? Is this conﬁguration
stable ?
Solution.
F = 2(Gm
2
/a
2
) cos 30

F = mω
2
(2a cos 30

/3)
ω =

3Gm/r
3
J = Iw, I = 3m(2a cos 30

/3)
2
K = Iw
2
/2
U = −3Gm
2
/a
Problem 8.5. A particle is moving along the axis of a homogeneous ring (mass M, radius R).
The particle velocity at inﬁnity is zero. What is its velocity when it passes through the center of the
ring ?
29
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution.
U(z) = −GMm/

R
2
+ z
2
E = 0 ⇒z = 0 →mv
2
/2 = GMm/R
Problem 8.6. The space between the two concentric spheres with the radii a and b, a < b, is
ﬁlled with a matter with the constant density ρ. Find the gravitational ﬁeld g as a function of radius
r in the whole space.
Solution. g = F/m
r < a ⇒g = 0
a < r < b ⇒M(r) =
4
3
πρ(r
3
−a
3
)
g = GM(r)/r
2
r > b ⇒M =
4
3
πρ(b
3
−a
3
)
g = GM/r
2
Problem 8.7. A binary system consists of two stars with the masses M and 2M. The distance
between them is R. Find the period of the orbital motion.
Solution.
F = 2GM
2
/R
2
µ = m
1
m
2
/(m
1
+ m
2
) = 2M/3
F = µω
2
R
9 Relativity
Problem 9.1. A box has the volume V in its rest frame. What is its volume in the frame moving
with the velocity v
0
?
Solution. One dimension is contracted by γ, so that V

= V/γ.
Problem 9.2. Two bodies are moving with the same speed v. The angle between their velocities
is α. What is the relative velocity ?
Solution.
v
0
= (−v, 0, 0)
30
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
v

= (v cos α, v sin α, 0)
γ = 1/

1 −v
2
/c
2
v
x
=
v

x
+ v
0x
1 + v

x
v
0x
/c
2
=
v(cos α −1)
1 −v
2
cos α/c
2
v
y
=
v

y
γ(1 + v

x
v
0x
/c
2
)
=
v sin α
γ(1 −v
2
cos α/c
2
)
Problem 9.3. The momentum of a particle is p and the energy is E. Find the velocity v.
Solution. v = pc
2
/E
Problem 9.4. A star is moving on a circular orbit with the radius R and period T. The star
emits at the wavelength λ in its rest frame. The line of sight of a distant observer (distance R) is
in the orbit plane (makes the angle 90

with the normal to the orbit plane). Find λ

max
−λ

min
/λ (λ

is the wavelength measured by the distant observer).
Solution.
v = 2πR/T
λ
max
λ
=

1 + v/c
1 −v/c
λ
min
λ
=

1 −v/c
1 + v/c
Problem 9.5. Same as in the previous problem but the angle between the line of sight and the
orbit plane is θ < 90

.
Solution.
v = 2πR/T
λ
max
λ
= γ(1 + v cos θ/c)
λ
min
λ
= γ(1 −v cos θ/c)
γ = 1/

1 −v
2
/c
2
Problem 9.6. A hot gas of identical atoms emitting at the same wavelength λ
0
(in the rest frame)
is observed by a distant observer. The atoms are moving and the number of atoms moving with the
velocity v (parallel to the line of sight) is given but the relation N(v) = C exp(−v
2
/2v
2
T
), where C
and v
T
are constant. Each atom emits the energy E. How much energy obtaines the distant observer
31
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
at the wavelength λ.
Problem 9.7. In the rest frame of the particle A, the particle B moves with the velocity v
B
, and
the particle C moves with the velocity v
C
. What is the angle between the velocities of A and C in
the rest frame of B ?
Problem 9.8. In the process of β-decay a neutron n decays in into a proton p, electron e

and
antineutrino ¯ ν: n → p + e

+ ¯ ν. The rest masses obey the following inequality m
n
> m
p
+ m
e
, the
rest of the antinuetrino m
ν
= 0. What is the energy of the antineutrino if the proton momentum is
negligible ?
Solution.
p
ν
= −p
e
→[p
ν
[ = [p
e
[ = p
m
n
c
2
= m
p
c
2
+

m
e
c
4
+ p
2
c
2
+ pc
Problem 9.9. What should be the electron Lorentz factor γ in order that the gyroradius of the
gyration around the magnetic ﬁeld B = 10
−3
T be equal to the Earth radius R = 6400 km? Find
yourself all relevant data.
Solution.
˙ p = qv B
p = mvγ, γ = const
mγ ˙ v = qv B ⇒
ω = qB/mγ
r = v/ω ≈ c/ω
Problem 9.10. A charged particle of the charge q and mass m is moving in the electric ﬁeld
E = E
0
sin(ωt). Find γ(t) if the particle is in the rest at t = 0.
Solution.
˙ p = qE
0
sin(ωt)
p =
qE
0
ω
(1 −cos(ωt))
γ =

p
2
/m
2
c
2
+ 1
Problem 9.11. A source of light is moving with the angular velocity ω on the circle with the
32
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
radius R in the plane x −y. The light frequency in the source frame is f. A distant observer (in the
same x −y plane) measures the frequency of received light as a function of time. Find this function.
10 Problems given at various tests, including midterms and
ﬁnals
Problem 10.1. A particle of the mass m is moving on the elliptic orbit r = p/(1 − cos ϕ). The
particle is attracted to the focus O
1
by the force [F
1
[ = k
1
/r
2
1
(where [r
1
[ is the distance between
the focus O
1
and the particle). In addition, it is attracted to the ellipse center O
2
with the force
[F
2
[ = k
2
r
2
. The third force acting on the particle is always perpendicular to the particle velocity.
When the particle is in A, its velocity is v
1
= (0, v
1
). What is its angular momentum in B ?
x
y
O1 O2 A
B
Solution. Points:
First we need the coordinates of the points A, B, O
1
, and O
2
:
1. O
1
is the coordinate origin, so that r
O
1
= x
O
1
= y
O
1
= 0.
2. A corresponds to ϕ
A
= π, so that r
A
= p/(1 + ), x
A
= −p/(1 + ), y
A
= 0.
3. It is convenient to use the point C: ϕ
C
= 0, r
C
= p/(1 −), x
C
= p/(1 −), y
C
= 0.
4. O
2
is in the middle between A and C, so that x
O
2
= (x
A
+ x
C
)/2 = p/(1 −
2
), y
O
2
=
(y
A
+ y
C
)/2 = 0.
5. B is just above O
2
, so that x
B
= x
O
2
= p/(1 −
2
). The equation r = p(1 − cos ϕ) can be
written as
r −r cos ϕ = p →r = p + x, x = r cos ϕ
so that r
B
= p/(1 −
2
). Now
y
B
=

r
2
B
−x
2
B
=
p

1 −
2
Force vectors:
We denote the position of the particle with r = (x, y), respectively, other points r
O
1
= (0, 0),
r
O
2
= (x
O
2
, 0), r
A
= (x
A
, 0), r
B
= (x
B
, y
B
).
33
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Now we introduce the vectors r
1
= r −r
O
1
= r and r
2
= r −r
O
2
. With this notation the forces
(both attractive) will be written as follows
F
1
= −
k
1
r
2
1
´ r
1
,
F
2
= −k
2
r
2
´ r
2
where ´ r
1
and ´ r
2
are unit vectors, r
1
= [r
1
[ and r
2
= [r
2
[.
Potential energy:
Both forces are central forces: the direction of F
1
is to O
1
and the magnitude depends only on
[mbr
1
[, the direction of F
2
is to O
2
and the magnitude depends only on [mbr
2
[. Central forces are
conservative, and the relation to the potential energy is the following:
F
1
= −
∂U
1
∂r
1
´ r
1
, F
2
= −
∂U
2
∂r
2
´ r
2
which gives
∂U
1
∂r
1
=
k
1
r
2
1
,
∂U
2
∂r
2
= k
2
r
2
and ﬁnally
U
1
= −
k
1
r
1
, U
2
=
k
2
r
2
2
2
Energy conservation:
Since the third (unknown) force is always perpendicular to the velocity, F
3
⊥ v, it does not
produce work, so that the energy conservation gives
mv
2
2
+ U
1
+ U
2
=
mv
2
2

k
1
r
1
+
k
2
r
2
2
2
= E = const
When the particle is in the point A, we have v = (0, v
1
), r
1
= p/(1 + ), r
2
= p/(1 −
2
).
When the particle is in the point B, we have v = (0, v) (this v is the unknown we are looking
for), r
1
= p/(1 −
2
), r
2
= p/

1 −
2
.
Therefore, we have
mv
2
1
2

k
1
(1 + )
p
+
k
2
p
2
2(1 −
2
)
2
=
mv
2
2

k
1
(1 −
2
)
p
+
k
2
p
2
2(1 −
2
)
Finally
v =
¸
v
2
1

2k
1
(1 −)
mp
+
k
2

2
p
2
(1 −
2
)
2

1/2
Angular momentum:
34
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
J = mr v. In the point B the velocity is v = (v, 0, 0), so that
J
z
= −mvy
B
= −
mvp

1 −
2
Problem 10.2. A particle, initially resting in the coordinate origin, suddenly breaks up into three
particles with the masses m
1
, m
2
, and m
3
. The particle m
1
has the charge q > 0. It starts moving
into negative x-direction in the homogeneous magnetic ﬁeld B = (0, 0, B). After having completed
half a circle the particle ﬁnds itself at the distance l
1
from the starting point. The particle m
2
has
the charge −q < 0. It starts moving in the positive x-direction, and after having completed half a
circle is at the distance l
2
from the starting point. What is the velocity of the third particle ? The
magnetic force is F = qv B.
x
y
m1
m2
Solution. For each particle in the magnetic ﬁeld ma = qv B. Since v ⊥ B, we can write
m[a[ = [q[[v[[B[, or
mv
2
r
= [q[B
which gives
v =
[q[Br
m
From this expression we immediately ﬁnd (l = 2r for a semicircle !)
v
1
=
qBl
1
2m
1
, v
2
=
qBl
2
2m
2
Momentum conservation gives
m
1
v
1
+ m
2
v
2
+ m
3
v
3
= 0
35
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
or
v
3
= −
m
1
v
1
+ m
2
v
2
m
3
Substituting v
1
= v
1
ˆ e
x
, v
2
= −v
2
ˆ e
x
, we ﬁnd
v
3
=
m
2
v
2
−m
1
v
1
m
3
ˆ e
x
=
qB(l
2
−l
1
)
2m
3
ˆ e
x
Problem 10.3. A particle of the mass m is connected with the point O with the use of a massless
rod of the length L. The rod can freely rotate around O. When the angle between the rod and the
vertical is θ
0
the particle velocity is v
0
= v
1
ˆ
θ + v
2
ˆ ϕ. a) What is conserved ? b) Find v
θ
and v
ϕ
(or
˙
θ and ˙ ϕ) as functions of θ; c) Find
¨
θ and ¨ ϕ as functions of θ; d) Find the maximum speed [v[
max
of
the particle; e) Find the tension in the rod as a function of θ.
O
θ
g ↓
1
Solution. Preparations:
F = −mg ˆ z + T ˆ r
v = v
θ
ˆ
θ + v
ϕ
ˆ ϕ
= r
˙
θ
ˆ
θ + r sin θ ˙ ϕ ˆ ϕ
˙ r = 0
a):
E =
mv
2
2
+ U, U = mgz = mgr cos θ
E =
m
2
(v
2
θ
+ v
2
ϕ
) + mgr cos θ
=
m
2
(r
2
˙
θ
2
+ r
2
sin
2
θ ˙ ϕ
2
) + mgr cos θ
36
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
˙
E = T v = T ˆ r (v
θ
ˆ
θ + v
ϕ
ˆ ϕ) = 0
E = const =
m
2
(v
2
1
+ v
2
2
) + mgLcos θ
0
˙ p = F = 0
J = r mv = mrˆ r (v
θ
ˆ
θ + v
ϕ
ˆ ϕ)
= mrv
θ
ˆ ϕ−mrv
ϕ
ˆ
θ
˙
J = r F = −rmgˆ r ˆ z
˙
J
z
= 0
J
z
= J ˆ z = mr sin θv
ϕ
= mr
2
sin
2
θ ˙ ϕ
J
z
= const = mv
2
Lsin θ
0
b):
v
ϕ
=
J
z
mr sin θ
˙ ϕ =
v
ϕ
r sin θ
=
J
z
mr
2
sin
2
θ
m
2
(v
2
θ
+ v
2
ϕ
) + mgr cos θ = E
v
θ
= ±

2E
m
−v
2
ϕ
−2gr cos θ
= ±

2E
m

J
2
z
m
2
r
2
sin
2
θ
−2gr cos θ
˙
θ =
v
θ
r
= ±
1
r

2E
m

J
2
z
m
2
r
2
sin
2
θ
−2gr cos θ
c):
¨
θ =
d
˙
θ

˙
θ
=
d

±
1
r

2E
m

J
2
z
m
2
r
2
sin
2
θ
−2gr cos θ

±
1
r

2E
m

J
2
z
m
2
r
2
sin
2
θ
−2gr cos θ

= ±
1
r

2E
m

J
2
z
m
2
r
2
sin
2
θ
−2gr cos θ

−1/2

J
2
z
cos θ
m
2
r
2
sin
3
θ
+ gr sin θ

˙
θ
=
1
r
2

J
2
z
cos θ
m
2
r
2
sin
3
θ
+ gr sin θ

37
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
¨ ϕ =
d ˙ ϕ

˙
θ
= ∓
1
r

2E
m

J
2
z
m
2
r
2
sin
2
θ
−2gr cos θ

2J
z
cos θ
mr
2
sin
3
θ

d):
v
2
=
2
m
(E −mgr cos θ)
d

v
2
= 2gr sin θ > 0
v = v
max
→θ = θ
max
> π/2
θ = θ
max

˙
θ = 0 ⇒
2E
m

J
2
z
m
2
r
2
sin
2
θ
max
−2gr cos θ
max
= 0
e):
(T + mg) ˆ r = −
mv
2
r
T −mg cos θ = −
mv
2
r
= −
2E −2mgr cos θ
r
T = 3mg cos θ −
2E
r
Problem 10.4. A particle moves according to r = r
0
exp(ϕ) in the central force. Find U(r).
Solution. In the central force energy and angular momentum are conserved. Energy conservation
gives
E =
1
2
m˙ r
2
+
1
2
mr
2
˙ ϕ
2
+ U = const.
Angular momentum conservation gives:
mr
2
˙ ϕ = J = const.
and therefore
˙ ϕ =
J
mr
2
.
From the given relation r = r
0
exp(ϕ) we have
˙ r = (d/dt)(r
0
exp(ϕ)) = r
0
exp(ϕ) ˙ ϕ = r ˙ ϕ =
J
mr
.
38
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Substituting (??) and (??) into the energy conservation (??) we ﬁnally obtain
E =
J
2
mr
2
+ U
and
U = E −
J
2
mr
2
Problem 10.5. A particle moves according to
x = Aexp(−γt) cos(ωt)
y = Aexp(−γt) sin(ωt)
Find tangential acceleration.
Solution. The problem is solved by direct diﬀerentiating: v
x
= ˙ x, v
y
= ˙ y, a
x
= ˙ v
x
, a
y
= ˙ v
y
, so
that the velocity and acceleration are:
v
x
= ˙ x = −γAexp(−γt) cos(ωt) −ωAexp(−γt) sin(ωt) = −γx −ωy,
v
y
= −γy + ωx,
a
x
= −γv
x
−ωv
y
= (γ
2
−ω
2
)x + 2γωy,
a
y
= −γv
y
+ ωv
x
= (γ
2
−ω
2
)y −2γωx.
Tangential acceleration is parallel to the velocity vector, so that a

= a v/[v[:
a

= (a
x
v
x
+ a
y
v
y
)/(v
2
x
+ v
2
y
)
1/2
= −γ

γ
2
+ ω
2
Aexp(−γt)
Problem 10.6. A particle of the mass m moves in the potential energy U(x) = −Ax
2
/2+Bx
3
/3,
A > 0, B > 0. Find the frequency of small oscillations.
Solution. Equilibrium is where F
x
= −(dU/dx) = 0:

dU
dx
= −Ax + Bx
2
= 0 →x
1
= 0, x
2
= A/B.
Whether the equilibrium is stable or not is determined by the second derivative (d
2
U/dx
2
) = −A +
2Bx. If (d
2
U/dx
2
) < 0 the point is a maximum and the equilibrium is unstable, if (d
2
U/dx
2
) > 0
the point is a minimum and the equilibrium is stable. In x = x
1
= 0 we have (d
2
U/dx
2
) = −A < 0
so that this is an unstable equilibrium. In x = x
2
= A/B we have (d
2
U/dx
2
) = A > 0 and this is a
39
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
stable equilibrium.
Near the equilibrium point the potential energy can be Tayor expanded:
U(x) ≈ U(x
2
) +
1
2
A(x −x
2
)
2
.
Let us denote X = x −x
2
then v
x
= ˙ x =
˙
X and the energy conservation is written as
1
2
m
˙
X
2
+
1
2
AX
2
= const
which immediately gives (according to the general rule)
ω
2
= A/m.
Problem 10.7. A hollow cylinder is sliding without friction (no rolling) with the velocity v. The
cylinder comes to a surface with friction. What is the ﬁnal velocity of the cylinder ?
Solution. When the cylinder comes to the surface with friction it is decelerated by the friction
force and at the same time its rotation is acceletrated until the cylinder begins to roll without sliding.
In the rolling state the friction force is zero and the velocity does not change. Let the friction force
magnitude be F
s
. Then the deceleration is
m
˙
V = −F
s
→V (t) = v −
F
s
m
t,
whereV (t) is the velocity of the center-of-mass in the moment t. The moment of the friction force
(torque) accelerates the rotation around the axis passing through the center-of-mass, as follows:
I ˙ ω = F
s
r →ω(t) =
F
s
r
I
t,
where ω(t) is the angular velocity of rotation and I is the moment of inertia around the axis passing
through the center-of-mass. According to the deﬁnition I =
¸
m
i
r
2
i
, where r
i
is the distance from
the rotating mass (small part of the body) from the rotation axis. All points of the cylinder are at
the same distance r from the rotation axis, so that we have
I =
¸
m
i
r
2
i
=
¸
i
m
i
r
2
= (
¸
i
m
i
)r
2
= mr
2
.
From (??) and (??) we ﬁnd
ω(t) =
F
s
mr
t.
The velocity and angular velocity stop changing when sliding stops. The condition of the rolling
40
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
without sliding is V = ωr which gives
v −
F
s
m
t =
F
s
mr
tr =
F
s
m
t,
and therefore, in the moment when the velocity stops changing
F
s
mr
t = v/2.
Substituting into (??) we have
V
final
= v/2.
Problem 10.8. A rod of the mass M and length l can rotate in the vertical plane around the
axis which passes through the point at a < l/2 from its upper end. A bullet of the mass m < M
with the horizontally directed velocity v strikes the rod at the upper end and remains in it. What is
the rotation angle of the rod ?
v
m, v
E mc
2
λ
µ
µ m M M m
R
2
Solution. Angular momentum is conserved during the collision, which means
Iω = mva →ω = mva/I,
where ω is the angular velocity of the rotation just after the collision, and I is the moment of inertia.
After the collision the energy is conserved, that is, the initial kinetic energy goes into the potential
energy as the bar rotates to the angle θ and its center-of-mass rises. Therefore, for the maximum
angle we have

2
/2 = MgL(1 −cos θ) →cos θ = 1 −Iω
2
/2MgL.
where L = l/2 − a is the distance between the axis and center-of-mass of the bar (we neglect the
mass of the bullet).
Calculation of I: Let us choose coordinate origin in the axis, and the positive direction downwards.
41
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Then
I =

l−a
−a
x
2
(M/l)dx =
M
3l
[(l −a)
3
+ a
3
]
Combine all calculations.
Problem 10.9. An electron moving with the energy E mc
2
toward the coordinate origin emits
a photon with the wavelength λ forward. What wavelength measures a non-moving observer in the
coordinate origin ?
Solution. We shall use directly the expression for the Doppler eﬀect
λ

λ
=
1
γ(1 −v cos θ/c)
.
In our case the source is moving towards the receptor, so that θ = 180

and
λ

λ
=

1 −v/c
1 + v/c
.
We need velocity which can be found as follows: γ = E/mc
2
and v = c

1 −1/γ
2
.
Problem 10.10. Potential energy (2D) is given by U = Acos ϕ/ρ
2
. A particle of the mass m is
in the point r = (a, a) and its velocity is v ⊥ r. Find the normal acceleration.
Solution. By deﬁnition a
n
⊥ v. Since r ⊥ v we have a
n
| r. Thus, the magnitude a
n
= [a ˆ r[.
a) The long way. ˆ r = (aˆ x +aˆ y)/

2a
2
= ( ˆ x + ˆ y)/

2. Express the potential energy in Cartesian
coordinates x = r cos ϕ, y = sin ϕ: U = Ax(x
2
+ y
2
)
−3/2
. Then
F = −
∂U
∂x
ˆ x −
∂U
∂y
ˆ y
= −

A
r
3

3Ax
2
r
5

ˆ x +

3Axy
r
5

ˆ y
=
A(3 cos
2
ϕ −1)
r
3
ˆ x +
3Asin ϕcos ϕ
r
3
ˆ y.
Now a = F/m, r = a

2, and ϕ = 45

, so that a
n
= A/2ma
3
.
b) The short way. F = −(∂U/∂r)ˆ r−(1/r)(∂U/∂ϕ) ˆ ϕ, so that a
n
= [(∂U/∂r)[/m = [2Acos ϕ/r
3
[/m =
A/2ma
3
.
Problem 10.11. A satellite of the mass m is moving on an elliptical orbit round the Earth (mass
M m), so that r
max
= 2r
min
. The satellite energy E < 0 is known. Find the angular momentum.
Solution. When r = r
min
or r = r
max
the radial velocity vanishes ˙ r = 0, so that in these points
42
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
the energy and momentum conservation give
E =
J
2
2mr
2

GMm
r
.
Thus,
r
1,2
=
GMm±

(GMm)
2
−2[E[J
2
/m
2[E[
(here we used E = −[E[ < 0) and
GMm +

(GMm)
2
−2[E[J
2
/m
GMm−

(GMm)
2
−2[E[J
2
/m
= 2.
Solving this equation we get
J =
2GMm

m
3

[E[
.
Another way of solving: from the energy expression we have
J
2
/2m = r
2
E + GMmr = (2r)
2
E + GMm(2r),
so that r = −GMm/3E and
J =

2m(r
2
E + GMmr)
same as above.
Problem 10.12. Two disks of the masses m
1
and m
2
1
and R
2
are connected to a
massless rod which can rotate in the vertical plane. The disk centers are at the distances l
1
and l
2
from the rotation axis. Find the frequency of small oscillations.
m
1
, R
1
m
2
, R
2
l
1
l
2
m R M
h r
B = (0, B, 0) x −y
q > 0 m
2
43
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
Solution. If the system moved to the angle θ <1 and the angular velocity is
˙
θ, the energy is
E =
I
˙
θ
2
2
+ mgL(1 −cos θ) =
I
˙
θ
2
2
+
mgLθ
2
2
,
where
I = (
m
1
R
2
1
2
+ m
1
l
2
1
) + (
m
2
R
2
2
2
+ m
2
l
2
2
)
is the moment of inertia relative to the axis, and
L =
m
1
l
1
−m
2
l
2
m
1
+ m
2
is the distance of the center of mass from the axis. The frequency is ω
2
= mgL/I.
Problem 10.13. To a disk of the mass M and radius R a smaller disk of the mass mv and radius
r is connected. At what height a horisontal force should be applied in order that the body start (in
the very ﬁrst moment) to roll without sliding. There is no friction.
m
1
, R
1
m
2
, R
2
l
1
l
2
m R M
h r
B = (0, B, 0) x −y
q > 0 m
2
Solution. Let the force be F. The acceleration of the center of mass is a = F/(M + m). The
angular acceleration around the contact point is α = N/I = Fh/I, where the moment of inertia is
I = (MR
2
/2 + MR
2
) + (mr
2
/2 + mr
2
) = (3/2)(MR
2
+ mr
2
). If there is no sliding, the linear and
angular acceleration are related by a = αL, where L = (MR + mr)/(M + m) is the distance of the
center of mass from the rotation axis (contact point). Thus, we have F/(M + m) = (Fh/I)L, so
that h = I/L(M + m).
Problem 10.14. There is a homogeneous magnetic ﬁeld B = (0, B, 0) between two plates,
parallel to the x − y plane. A particle of the mass m and electric charge q > 0 enters the space
between the planes through the lower plate, when its velocity is v = (v cos 45

, 0, v sin 45

). What
is the minimal distance between the plates for which the particle will come back to the lower plate
44
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
(without touching the upper one) ? Gravity is negligible.
v = (v cos 45

, 0, v sin 45

)
x
z
v
v
1
= (0.5c, 0.5c, 0)
|v
rel
| v
2
= (−0.5c, 0.5c, 0)
R M
3
Solution. The particle moves on a circle of the radius r which is obtained from F = qvB =
mv
2
/r, that is, r = mv/qB, as shown in the ﬁgure.
Physics 1. Mechanics Solutions 2
x
z
v
From the ﬁgure it is clear that the distance between the two planes should be L > r + r/

2.
Problem 1.6. The easiest way is to rotate the coordinates so that the new x axis will be along v
1
,
then the new y axis will be along v
2
. In the new coordinates v
1
= (0.5

2c, 0, 0), v
2
= (0, 0.5

2c, 0).
Taking v
1
≡ v
0
as the velocity of the moving frame (S

), and v
2
as the velocity of a body we are
looking at, we have
v

x
=
v
x
−v
0
1 −v
x
v
0
/c
2
= −v
0
= −0.5

2c, (11)
v

y
=
v
y
γ(1 −v
x
v
0
/c
2
)
=
v
y
γ
=
0.5

2c
γ
. (12)
where we used v
x
= (v
2
)
x
= 0, and
γ = (1 −v
2
1
/c
2
)
−1/2
=

2. (13)
Thus, we have v

x
= −0.5

2c, v

y
= 0.5c, and v

=

v

x
2
+ v

y
2
= 0.5

3c.
Problem 1.7. Let us consider a small part of the mass of the length dr and cross section dA at
the radius r. This part has a mass dm = ρdAdr, where the density ρ = 3M/4πR
3
. Is is attracted to
the center by the mass M

= ρ(4πr
3
/3) inside the radius r. This force is balanced by the pressure
forces. From the inside the pressure pushed it outwards with the force p[r]dA. From the outside the
pressure pushes it inward with the force p[r + dr]dA. Thus, we have
p[r]dA−p[r + dr]dA =
GM

dm
r
2
=
GMrρ
R
3
3
From the ﬁgure it is clear that the distance between the two planes should be L > r + r/

2.
Problem 10.15. An observer on Earth sees one galaxy moving with the velocity v
1
= (0.5c, 0.5c, 0)
and another with v
2
= (−0.5c, 0.5c, 0). Find their relative velocity [v
rel
[.
Solution. The easiest way is to rotate the coordinates so that the new x axis will be along v
1
,
then the new y axis will be along v
2
. In the new coordinates v
1
= (0.5

2c, 0, 0), v
2
= (0, 0.5

2c, 0).
Taking v
1
≡ v
0
as the velocity of the moving frame (S

), and v
2
as the velocity of a body we are
looking at, we have
v

x
=
v
x
−v
0
1 −v
x
v
0
/c
2
= −v
0
= −0.5

2c,
v

y
=
v
y
γ(1 −v
x
v
0
/c
2
)
=
v
y
γ
=
0.5

2c
γ
.
where we used v
x
= (v
2
)
x
= 0, and
γ = (1 −v
2
1
/c
2
)
−1/2
=

2.
Thus, we have v

x
= −0.5

2c, v

y
= 0.5c, and v

=

v

x
2
+ v

y
2
= 0.5

3c.
Problem 10.16. Potential energy is given as U = −A/r
4
, A > 0. When the particle (mass m)
is in the point (a, 0, 0) its velocity is v = (0, v, 0) and its energy is negative. What is the maximum
45
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
distance between the particle and the coordinate origin ?
Solution. Central force means that J = mrv = const and E = mv
2
r
/2+J
2
/2mr
2
+U = const.
From the initial conditions we have J = J ˆ z, J = mav, E = mv
2
/2 − A/a
4
. Since E < 0 we have
v
2
< 2A/ma
4
. In the closest and farthest points v
r
= 0 so that we have
J
2
2mr
2

A
r
4
= E
where J, m, E < 0, and A are known. The equation is easily solved to give
r
2
= −
J
2
4m[E[
±

(
J
2
4m[E[
)
2
+
A
[E[
The solution with − is not physical (r
2
< 0) which means that there is no minimum radius: the
particle reaches the maximum radius, bounces back and falls into r = 0.
Problem 10.17. A particle moves according to x = r
0
cos(ωt), y = r
0
sin(ωt), z = kt
2
/2. Find
the normal acceleration.
Solution.
v = ωr
0
(−sin(ωt) ˆ x + cos(ωt) ˆ y) + kt ˆ z
a = −ω
2
r
0
(cos(ωt) ˆ x + sin(ωt) ˆ y) + kˆ z
a
n
= [a ˆ v[
= ωr
0

ω
2
k
2
t
2
+ k
2
+ ω
4
r
2
0

ω
2
r
2
0
+ k
2
t
2
Problem 10.18. Potential energy is U(x) = A(x − a)
2
(x − b)
2
, A > 0. Find the frequency of
small oscillations.
Solution. Equilibrium: dU/dx = 0 → x = a or x − b. It is easy to ﬁnd that U = A(b − a)
2
X
2
where X = x −a or X = x −b. Thus, ω
2
= 2A(b −a)
2
/m.
Problem 10.19. Three identical cylinders are in equilibrium (see ﬁgure). Find the minimum
friction coeﬃcient between the cylinders.
dve‘zd z‘ ‘vn . z = at
2
/2 , y = r
0
sin(ωt) , x = r
0
cos(ωt) itl rp wiwlg
.zilnxepd
Solution .
v = ωr
0
(−sin(ωt)ˆ x + cos(ωt)ˆ y) + atˆz
a = −ω
2
r
0
(cos(ωt)ˆ x + sin(ωt)ˆ y) + aˆz
a
n
= |a × ˆ v|
= ωr
0

ω
2
a
2
t
2
+ a
2

4
r
2
0

ω
2
r
2
0
+ a
2
t
2
3. dl‘y
ly zeiexicz ‘vn . U(x) = A(x −a)
2
(x −b)
2
i’’r dpezp zil‘ivphet dibxp‘
.(cg‘n xzei) lwyn ieeiy cil zephw zecepz
Solution . Equilibrium: dU/dx = 0 → x = a or x − b. It is easy to ﬁnd that
U = A(b −a)
2
X
2
where X = x −a or X = x −b. Thus, ω
2
= 2A(b −a)
2
/m.
4. dl‘y
mcwn z‘ ‘va .xeiva d‘xpy itk lwyn ieeiya mi‘vnd midf mililb dyely
.mililbd oia ilnipind jekigd
Solution . Let the normal force acting on the lower cylinder from the upper is
N, and the friction force between the upper and lower cylinders is f
s
, f
s
/N ≤ µ.
From the torque balance on the lower cylinder the friction force between the lower
2
Solution. Let the normal force acting on the lower cylinder from the upper is N, and the friction
46
Physics 1. Mechanics Problems
force between the upper and lower cylinders is f
s
, f
s
/N ≤ µ. From the torque balance on the lower
cylinder the friction force between the lower cylinder and the table is f
s
. The force balance on the
lower cylinder in the horisontal direction is
f
s
+ f
s
cos 30

= N cos 60

→µ ≥
f
s
N
=

3/3
Problem 10.20. A body is built of two small identical balls connected with a massless rod of
the length l. Initially the body is at rest. Another identical ball, moving with the velocity v, collides
elastically with one of these two (see ﬁgure). Find the angular velocity of the body rotation after
the collision.
v
N yig‘ ote‘a mibltzn (dgepn zkxrna) a, b, c zecin zlra daiza6. dl‘y
v zexidn rpd dtevd cecni (gtp zcigil xtqn) miwiwlgd zetitv efi‘ .miwiwlg
? a rlv jxe‘l
Solution . a

= a/γ, V

= V/γ → n

= nγ
4
Solution. Elastic collision means that the momentum, angular momentum, and energy are
conserved. Let the velocity of the third ball after the collision be v

(it will be in the same direction
as the initial velocity or in the opposite direction - in the last case v

< 0). Let the velocity of the
center of the rod be V and the angular velocity of the rotation around this center (counterclockwise)
be ω. Momentum conservation gives
mv = mv

+ 2mV
Angular momentum conservation (relative to the collision point):
0 = 2mV (l/2) −2m(l/2)
2
ω
Energy conservation gives
mv
2
2
=
mv

2
2
+
2mV
2
2
+
2m(l/2)
2
ω
2
2
Solving these equations we obtain ω = v/l.
Problem 10.21. In a box of the size a b c (in its rest frame) N particles are homogeneously
distributed. Find the particle density as viewed by an observer moving with the velocity v along a.
Solution. a

= a/γ, V

= V/γ →n

= nγ
47