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PC235 Winter 2013

Classical Mechanics

Assignment #3 Solutions
#1 (5 points) JRT Prob. 3.4
Two hobos, each of mass mh , are standing at one end of a stationary railroad
flatcar with frictionless wheels and mass mf c . Either hobo can run to the other end
of the flatcar and jump off with the same speed u (relative to the car).
(a) Use conservation of momentum to find the speed of the recoiling car if the two
men run and jump simultaneously.
(b) What is it if the second man starts running only after the first has already
jumped? Which procedure gives the greater speed to the car?
Solution
(a) Let v be the speed of recoil of the flatcar, so that u v is the speed of either
hobo relative to the ground just after they jump. Conservation of momentum
implies that 2mh (u v) = mf c v, from which we find
v=

2mh
u.
2mh + mf c

(1)

(b) Let v be the recoil speed of the flatcar after the first hobo jumps and v the
speed after the second hobo jumps. Conservation of momentum after the first
jump works just as in part (a), but with only one hobo jumping (and the mass
of the second hobo remaining): mh (u v ) = (mf c + mh )v , or
v =

mh
u.
2mh + mf c

(2)

For the second jump, the procedure is the same, except the flatcar is already
moving with speed v . Here, conservation of momentum implies that mh (u
v ) mf c v = (mh + mf c )v , or,


mh u + (mh + mf c )v
3mh + 2mf c
2mh

v =
(3)
=
u.
mh + mf c
2mh + 2mf c 2mh + mf c
Clearly, v > v (since the first fraction in v is greater than 1).

#2 (5 points) JRT Prob. 3.8


A rocket (initial mass m0 ) needs to use its engines to hover stationary, just
above the ground.
(a) If it can afford to burn no more than a mass m0 of its fuel, for how long can
it hover?
(b) If vex 3000 m/s and 10%, for how long could the rocket hover just above
the earths surface?
Solution
(a) If the rocket is hovering, the thrust must balance gravity; i.e. mv
ex = mg.
This requires that dm/m = (g/vex )dt, which integrates to give ln(m/m0 ) =
gt/vex . The maximum hovering time occurs when we reach the limit m = (1
)m0 (thats the remaining amount of fuel). Therefore, tmax = ln(1)vex /g.
(b) With the given values of = 0.1 and vex = 3000 m/s, this gives tmax = 32
seconds.

#3 (5 points) JRT Prob. 3.12


To illustrate the use of a multistage rocket, consider the following:
(a) A certain rocket carries 60% of its initial mass as fuel (that is, the mass of
fuel is 0.6m0 ). What is the rockets final speed, accelerating from rest in free
space, if it burns all of its fuel in a single stage? Express your answer as a
multiple of vex .
(b) Suppose instead it burns the fuel in two states as follows: In the first stage
it burns a mass of 0.3m0 of fuel. It then jettisons the first-stage fuel tank,
which has a mass of 0.1m0 , and then burns the remaining 0.3m0 of fuel. Find
the final speed in this case, assuming the same value of vex throughout, and
compare.
Solution
(a) If it uses all the fuel in a single burn, then


m0
= vex ln(2.5) = 0.92vex .
v = vex ln
0.4m0
(b) After the first stage, the speed is

 

1
m0
= vex ln
v1 = vex ln
0.7m0
0.7
2

(4)

(5)

and after the second stage it is






0.6 1
0.6m0

= vex ln(2.86) = 1.05vex .


+ v1 = vex ln
v = vex ln
0.3m0
0.3 0.7

(6)

#4 (5 points) JRT Prob. 3.22


Use spherical coordinates r, , to find the CM of a uniform solid hemisphere
of radius R, whose flat face lies in the xy plane with its center at the origin.
Solution
Let the hemispheres mass be M and its density be = M/V
a hemiRRR, where, for
RRR
rdV = V1
rdV
sphere, the volume V = 32 R3 . The CM position is R = M1
(because is independent of position) where the integral runs over the volume of
the hemisphere. By symmetry, it is clear that the x and ycomponents of the
CM are both zero. As for the zcomponent, recall from chapter 1 that in spherical
coordinates, z = r cos . Furthermore, the differential volume element in spherical
coordinates is dV = r2 sin dr d d. Then,
1
Z=
V

ZZZ

3
z dV =
2R3

R
r=0

/2
=0

(r cos )r2 sin dr d d


=0

where the integral over has an upper limit of /2 because we are only integrating
over a half-sphere. Evaluating these integrals gives
3
3
R4 1
2 = R,

3
2R
4 2
8

.
and therefore the CM lies at R = (X, Y, Z) = 0, 0, 3R
8
Z=

#5 (10 points)
Prove that the moment of inertia of a thin spherical shell of mass M and radius R,
rotating about an axis that passes through its center, is equal to I = 2M R2 /3 (hint:
use spherical coordinates with R constant).
Solution
This problem is deceptively tricky. In spherical coordinates with constant radius R,
the differential area is dA = R2 sin d d. Then, remember that r2 term in the
moment of inertia integral doesnt refer to the variable r, but to the perpendicular
distance of the differential area element to the rotation axis. This is a function of ;
to be precise, it is equal to (R sin )2 . Noting that the area of the shell is 4R2 , we

can write:
ZZ
I=
a r2 dA =

Z
Z
ZZ
M
M R2 2
2 2
sin3 (7)
d
d
(R sin ) R sin d d =
4R2
4 0
0


2
M R2
1
M R2 4
3
(8)
=
2
cos cos =
= M R2 .
4
3
2
3
3
0

You can also solve this problem by considering the spherical shell as a solid sphere
with a concentric and slightly smaller solid sphere removed from its center, in the
limit as the size of the two spheres approach each other (note that this method
is only easier if you happen to recall that I = (2/5)M R2 for a solid sphere of
uniform density). Heres how it works: the density of a solid sphere is = M/V =
M/( 43 R3 ) = 3M/4R3 . Therefore, we have
I=

8
R5 .
15

(9)

If we remove a smaller sphere of radius R from its center, the new moment of
inertia is
8
I = (R5 (R )5 ),
(10)
15
where
3M
=
(11)
4(R3 (R )3 )
(remember, the mass M is given; if we remove a smaller sphere, the density of
the remaining shell must increase accordingly). Therefore, we have for the hollow
sphere
5
2 (5R4 )
2 R5 R5 1 R
2
2 R5 (R )5
= M
= M R2 , (12)
I= M 3
3 M
3
2

3
3
5 R (R )
5 R R 1
5 (3R )
3
R

where we used a Taylor series (binomial) expansion in the second-to-last step; the
approximation becomes exact in the limit of infinitesimally small , which represents
the spherical shell.

#6 (5 points) JRT Prob. 3.29


A uniform spherical asteroid of radius R0 is spinning with angular velocity
0 . As the aeons go by, it picks up more matter until its radius is R. Assuming
that its density remains the same and that the additional matter was originally at
rest relative to the asteroid (on average), find the asteroids new angular velocity.
What is the final angular velocity if the radius doubles?

Solution
Since the matter accreted by the asteroid is initially at rest, it provides no change
to the asteroids angular momentum. Therefore, I = I0 0 , where I0 and I are the
initial and final moments of inertia. Now, if the density of the asteroid is , we have


8
2 4
2
2
3
R R2 = R5 .
(13)
I = MR =
5
5 3
15
Since is a constant, conservation of angular momentum implies that R05 0 = R5 ,
and therefore the new angular velocity of the asteroid is = (R0 /R)5 0 . If the
radius doubles, then we have = 0 /32.

#7 (5 points) JRT Prob. 3.34


A juggler is juggling a uniform rod one end of which is coated in tar and
burning. He is holding the rod by the opposite end and throws it up such that, at
the moment of release, it is horizontal, its CM is traveling vertically up at speed
v0 and it is rotating with angular velocity 0 . To catch it, he wants to arrange
that when it returns to his hand it will have made an integer number of complete
rotations. What should v0 be if the rod is to have made exactly n rotations when
it returns to his hand?
Solution
The CM moves just like a point mass M . We know from previous classes that
an object under the influence of gravity and an initial velocity v0 has a height
Y = v0 t 12 gt2 . Setting Y = 0 gives us the time taken for the object to travel up
and then down to its inital position: t = 2v0 /g. Now, we must realize that after the
rod is released, there can not be any torque around the center of mass, and thus
the angular momentum L = I is constant. This means that = 0 is constant,
and the number of revolutions in the time t is n = t/T , where T = 2/0 is the
period of one rotation of the rod. Thus, n = 0 t/2 = 0 v0 /g. Therefore, he must
arrange that
ng
v0 =
,
0
where n is an integer.

#8 (10 points) JRT Prob. 4.4


A particle of mass m is moving on a frictionless, horizontal table and is
attached to a massless string, whose other end passes through a hole in the table,
where I am holding it. Initially, the particle is moving in a circle of radius r0 with
angular velocity 0 , but now I pull the string down through the hole until a length
r remains between the hole and the particle.
5

(a) What is the angular velocity now?


(b) Assuming that I pull the string so slowly that we can approximate the particles
path by a circle of slowly shrinking radius, calculate the work I did by pulling
the string.
(c) Compare this with the particles gain in kinetic energy.
Solution
(a) Conservation of angular momentum implies that
mr2 = mr02 0 ,

(14)

= (r0 /r)2 0 .

(15)

so therefore,
(b) We will need to solve Newtons second law, F = ma. From the chapter 1 notes,
you will recall that the 2D polar components of acceleration are ar = r r 2 ,
As the string is pulled, the path of the mass spirals
and a = r + 2r .
toward the hole in the middle of the table; the radius and angular velocity
both change. This is where we must assume that I pull the string slowly...if
the radius of the masss orbit changes very slowly, then the term r in ar , and
both of the terms in a can be neglected in comparison to the term r 2 in ar
as you can determine
(very slow changes in r will cause very small values of ,
by conservation of angular momentum.) Thus, the only force on the mass is
the centripetal force Fr = mar , which is balanced by the strings tension to
keep the mass on a (roughly) circular path.
From the last assignment, you know that the new angular velocity (calculated
by conservation of angular momentum) is = (r0 /r)2 0 . Thus, the force that
I exert is
 
2
r0 2
m02 r04
2
F (r) = mar = m r = m
.
(16)
0 r =
r
r3
To calculate the work done, remember that the distance I pull the string in
any small displacement is dr. Then,


Z r
Z r
1
1
1
dr
2 4

2 4
= m0 r0

.
(17)
W =
F (r )(dr ) = m0 r0
3
2
r2 r02
r0
r0 r
(c) Recalling that for circular motion, velocity v = r, we see that the KE for a
mass m undergoing circular motion is T = 21 mv 2 = 12 mr2 2 . The change in
KE is then


1
1
1
1
2 2
2 2
2 4
.
(18)

T = m(r r0 0 ) = m0 r0
2
2
r2 r02
This is identical to the result of part (b), as we expect from the work-KE
theorem.
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#9 (10 points) JRT Prob. 4.24


An infinitely long, uniform rod of mass per unit length is situated on the
z axis.
(a) Calculate the gravitational force F on a point mass m a distance from
the z axis, given that the gravitational force between two point masses is
F = GM mr/r2 .
(b) Rewrite F in terms of the rectangular coordinates (x, y, z) of the point and
verify that F = 0.
(c) Show that F = 0 using the appropriate expression in cylindrical coordinates from inside the back cover of the text.
(d) Find the corresponding potential energy U .
Solution
(a) Consider first the differential force on m due to a short segment dz of the rod
at a height z above m. This force has magnitude dF = Gmdz/r2 in the
direction shown in the side view (see figures below,) where r is the distance
from the element dz to the mass m, and dz = dm is the differential mass of
the segment dz. To find the total force, we must integrate over all of these
differential forces from z = to . When we do this, the z components
fz from points z and z will cancel (every upward pull is balanced by a
corresponding downward pull.) In addition, the component of force perpendicular to the page (in the side view) is clearly zero. Thus, we need only
consider the component of force in the direction of (the unit vector in the
direction, pointing away from the z axis):
dz
dz
dF = GM cos 2 = Gm 3 ,
(19)
r
r
where the last step follows because cos = /r. The total force is then
Z
Z
Z
dz
Gm /2
dz
= Gm
cos d,
=
F = Gm
3/2
3

(z 2 + 2 )
/2
r
(20)
where we have made the substitution z = tan . The integral just evaluates
to 2, and we conclude that
F=

2Gm

(21)

(b) The unit vector lies in the xy plane. If we denote it as in the figure, then
= cos
x + sin
y,
7

(22)

where cos = x/ and sin = y/. Therefore, the answer to part (a) reads
F=

2Gm
(x
x + y
y + 0z) .
2

(23)

It is then fairly trivial to show that F = 0 using the determinant method:




x

y
z

F = x y z
(24)
x y 0







(0) (y) y
(0) (z) + y
(x) (y)
(25)
= x
y
z
x
z
y
z
= 0.
(26)
(c) In cylindrical coordinates, its trivial to show that F = 0, since F only
has a component, and it is independent of or z, thus making all of the
partial derivatives in the curl equal to zero.
R
(d) The potential energy U (r) is given by the integral F dr taken from any
arbitrary reference point r0 to the point of interest r. Since the integral is
independent of path, we can choose a path which is the most geometrically
convenient. Label the reference point with the coordinates r0 = (0 , 0 , z0 )
and the point of interest r = (, , z). To be completely general, we will consider this path in three stages:
1. Start at r0 and move parallel to the z axis until you reach the desired
final value z.
2. Next, move in a circlular arc of constant and z until you reach the desired
final value .
3. Finally, move radially to the desired final value .
Now, recall from part (a) that the force only has a radial component F .
In the first two stages of the path, dr has only a z component and a component, respectively. These are both perpendicular to the force, and thus they
do no work. For the third stage of the path, both F and dr point in the
direction, and the work integral is easily written as an integral over the single
coordinate :

Z 
2Gm
U (r) =
d = 2Gm ln(/0 ).
(27)

0
#10 (5 BONUS points)
In the class notes, we solved JRT Prob. 3.33 to find I for a uniform thin
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Fig. 1: Geometry for problem #9

square of side 2b about an axis that is perpendicular to the square and which passes
through its center. Now, calculate I for the same square, for an axis that is perpendicular to the square, but which passes through the point (x, y) = (x0 , y0 ). Note
that this point does not need to lie within the boundary of the square.
Solution
The only difference between this problem and the one covered in the notes is that
herep
the position of each
pdifferential bit of mass relative to the axis of rotation isnt
r = x2 + y 2 , its r = (x x0 )2 + (y y0 )2 . Here is a rigorous solution:
ZZ
Z Z

M
M b b
2
2
2
I =
dxdy
(28)
(x

x
)
+
(y

y
)
r
dA
=
0
0
4b2
4b2 b b
Z Z

M b b 2
2
2
2
x
+
x

2xx
+
y
+
y

2yy
dxdy
(29)
=
0
0
0
0
4b2 b b
b
Z 
M b x3
2
2
2
+ xx0 x x0 + xy + xy0 2xyy0
=
dy
(30)
4b2 b 3
b

Z 
M b 2b3
2
2
+ 2bx0 + 2by + 2by0 4byy0 dy
(31)
=
4b2 b 3

b
2by 3
2by 2 y0
M 2b3 y
2
2
+ 2bx0 y +
+ 2by0 y
=
(32)
4b2
3
3
3
b


4b4
M 4b4
2 2
2 2
(33)
+ 4b x0 +
+ 4b y0
=
4b2 3
3
 2

2b
2
2
= M
(34)
+ x0 + y0
3
2
=
(35)
M b2 + M (x20 + y02 ).
3
This is a bit ugly, but you can also solve it simply by invoking the parallel axis
theorem (which you may or may not have learned in an earlier math course). This
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theorem tells us how the moment of inertia changes when the rotation axis shifts
away from the center of mass...if the shift has a magnitude of r, then
I = ICM + M r2 ,
which gives us the same answer.

10

(36)