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Relative motion explored in some detail using unit vectors.Notes and examples on velocity in one dimension and two dimensions, also acceleration in two dimensions.Many clear, coloured diagrams to illustrate the underlying principles involved.

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2D Motion : Relative Motion

One dimensional relative velocity(in a line)

Consider two particles A and B at instant t positioned along the x-axis from point O.

**Particle A has a displacement xA from O, and a velocity VA along the x-axis. The
**

displacement xA is a function of time t .

**Particle B has a displacement xB from O, and a velocity VB along the x-axis. The
**

displacement xB is a function of time t .

The velocity VB relative to velocity VA is written,

BVA = VB - VA

This can be expressed in terms of the derivative of the displacement with respect to time.

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2D Motion Mechanics topic notes

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Two dimensional relative position & velocity

**Particle A has a displacement rA from O, and a velocity VA along the x-axis. The
**

displacement rA is a function of time t .

**Particle A has a displacement rB from O, and a velocity VB along the x-axis. The
**

displacement rB is a function of time t .

Relative position

The position of B relative to A at time t is given by the position vector from O, rB-A .

The position vector rB-A can be written as,

r

B A = rB - rA

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Relative velocity

Similarly, at time t the velocity vector VB relative to velocity vector VA can be written,

BVA = VB - VA

This can be expressed in terms of the derivative of the displacement with respect to time.

Example #1

**If the velocity of a particle P is (9i - 2j) ms-1 and the velocity of another particle Q is (3i -
**

8j) ms-1 , what is the velocity of particle P relative to Q?

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Example #2

**A particle P has a velocity (4i + 3j) ms-1. If a second particle Q has a relative velocity to P
**

of (2i - 3j), what is the velocity of Q?

Example #3

**A radar station at O tracks two ships P & Q at 0900hours (t=0) .
**

P has position vector (4i + 3j) km, with velocity vector (3i - j) km hr -1.

Q has position vector (8i + j) km, with velocity vector (2i + 2j) km hr -1.

**i) What is the displacement of P relative to Q at 0900 hours? (ie distance between ships).
**

Answer to 2 d.p.

ii) Write an expression for the displacement of P relative to Q in terms of time t .

iii) Hence calculate the displacement of P relative to Q at 1500 hours.

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i)

ii)

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therefore the displacement of P relative to Q is given by,

iii) using the result above for 1500 hours( t=6)

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Two dimensional relative acceleration

**Similarly, if aA and aB are the acceleration vectors at A and B at time t, then the
**

acceleration of B relative to A is given by,

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