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This is a step by step worksheet on teaching students basics of vector calculus.

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1. During World War II, mathematicians were asked to construct tables for gunners

relating angle to range. Bombardiers required similar information. How was this

done?

We wish to construct a model of the motion of an object under the influence of

gravity and air resistance. We ignore the complications due to lifting forces and

possible rotation of the object. Hence the only forces involved are a downward

force of mg and a drag force opposite the direction of motion of mf(v), where m is

the mass of the object, v = |v| is the magnitude of its velocity, and g is the

acceleration due to gravity.

(a) Consider the diagram for the portion of trajectory below. Convince yourself that

the horizontal angle for velocity vector and the angle between gravitational

acceleration and a perpendicular to velocity vector are equal.

(b) Decompose acceleration vector g into two components: component g|| parallel to

v and component g perpendicular to v.

(c) Decompose v into horizontal and vertical components using the fact that

magnitude of v is v: |v| = v.

(d) Differentiate v with respect to time. (Hint: Use expression for horizontal and

vertical components above to carry out differentiation. Dont forget to use Chain

rule).

(e) Consider a small change in magnitude of v: v. Express legs of the right triangle

below in terms of v and . Divide both sides of each equation by t and take a

limit as t approaches 0.

(f)

dv

dt

(g) Consider the small change in angle : . Use the diagram below to express the

perpendicular component of change in velocity vector: v using v and . Divide

both sides of each equation by t and take a limit as t approaches 0.

(h)

dv

dt

(i) Resolving the acceleration due to gravity into components parallel and

perpendicular to v and using the fact that drag acts parallel to v, we obtain the

following system of equations:

v = g sin() f(v)

v = g cos()

Explain where the system came from.

(j) Multiply equation v = g sin() f(v) by vgcos(), divide by the second equation

v = g cos(), and rearrange to get

g( cos )

= vf(v).

(k) Let f(v) = kv2 and label cos = (i.e. the horizontal component of velocity

vector). Separate the variables to get

g

v 3x

dvx =

cos 3 () d.

(l) Antidifferentiating the left side of the equation above is easy (Do it!). Consider

now

1

cos 3 ()

d =

cos 3 ()d.

(m) Knowing the initial condition, we can calculate the constant of integration and

find expression for vx. For example, in case of bombardier initial condition would

be 0 = 0 and v = (v0, 0). We will not bother doing this here, but it should be

obvious that vx() can be found from above. Express vy vertical projection of v in

terms of vx and .

(n) Find expressions for

dx

d

and

dy

d

dy

d

dx

d

and

(p) Assume flat terrain. What is the terminal value of y, that is y(*)?

(q) Describe what calculations you need to make in order to figure out when to drop

the bomb from the bombardier

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