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Trinity Term

Preliminary Examination in Physics

Paper CP1: PHYSICS 1

also

Moderations in Physics and Philosophy

Monday 9 June 2014, 2.30 pm 5.00 pm

Time allowed: 2 21 hours

A list of physical constants, mathematical formulae

and conversion factors accompanies this paper.

The numbers in the margin indicate the weight that the Moderators expect to

assign to each part of the question.

Section A

1. Two particles with masses m1 and m2 collide elastically and obliquely in the x y

plane. Show that in the centre of mass frame the magnitude of each velocity does not

change.

Show that in the laboratory frame when m1 = m2 and m2 is stationary before

the collision, the particles move at right angles to each other after the collision.

[7]

2. A frictionless evacuated tunnel is created from the North to South poles of the

Earth. A mass is released from rest in the tunnel at the surface of the Earth. Derive

an expression for the time it would take to reach the other side of the planet. Take the

Earth to be of uniform density , of radius r0 and give the expression in terms of g,

the acceleration due to gravity at the surface of the Earth. Neglect the effect of other

celestial bodies.

Explain qualitatively how the rotation speed of the Earth would be affected as

the body traverses similar tunnels for diameters other than the North to South poles.

[6]

3. Two parallel uniform discs of equal mass are rotating in opposite directions on

a common thin frictionless axle. They have radii r1 and r2 where r1 = r2 / 2. The

magnitude of the discs angular velocities are 1 and 2 where 1 = 22 . The discs

have protruding pins of negligible mass, as shown in the diagram, the orbits of which

intersect. The discs collide elastically via the pins. Evaluate the magnitude of the

angular velocities of the discs immediately after the collision. Assume both the thickness

of the discs and their separation on the axle are negligible.

[4]

4. Explain concisely the meaning of the following terms for a mechanical system:

a) Generalised coordinates.

b) Degrees of freedom.

c) Holonomic constraints.

4286

[3]

5. Consider two frames of reference, S and S0 , the axes of which are aligned. S0 moves

at speed u along the S x-axis. An object is moving at speed v in the x direction, as

measured in frame S0 . Starting from the Lorentz transformations, derive an expression

for the speed of the object in frame S. What is the maximum rate of separation of any

two objects as measured in the laboratory frame of reference?

[5]

The refractive index for a medium is given by n = c/vm , where vm is the speed

of light in the medium and c the speed of light in vacuum. A beam of light passes

along the axis of a tube of water. The water is moving at speed v along the tube in the

opposite direction to the light. By considering the water as a second frame of reference,

show that the effective refractive index n0 in the laboratory frame is given by

n0 ' n 1 +

vn

v

c

nc

[5]

6. A train of 100 m proper length travels at a speed 0.99c in the frame of the tracks

on which it is running. It passes through a tunnel of length 90m. Is the train ever

completely inside the tunnel? Explain your answer in both the frame of the railway

tracks and the frame of the train. Also explain how your answers are consistent.

[4]

7. A vertical spoked wheel with a rim of mass M is free to rotate about its axle.

The rim is of radius R2 and of negligible thickness. A mass m is attached to one of the

spokes, at a distance R1 below the centre of the axle, as shown in the diagram. Mass

m is displaced from equilibrium by an angle 0 and released. Find an equation which

describes the motion of the mass and for small angles find the period of its oscillation.

Assume the spokes are of negligible mass and that the wheel rotates without friction.

[6]

R2

R1

m

q0

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[Turn over]

Section B

8. A rocket of mass m, excluding fuel, with a fuel load of mass M , starts from rest.

The fuel is ejected at speed u0 relative to the rocket. Derive an expression for the final

speed of the rocket after all the fuel has been used. Neglect friction and gravity.

[6]

Two rockets, A and B, are initially close together and on the same axis but facing

in opposite directions. Their masses are mA and mB respectively, excluding fuel. Rocket

A has fuel of total mass M which is ejected from the rear at speed u0 . Rocket B has no

fuel. The exhaust from Rocket A is collected by Rocket B without loss. Both rockets

are initially at rest in space and are not affected significantly by gravity or friction.

Derive an expression for the final relative speed of Rockets A and B.

[4]

Two rockets in the same initial configuration as above have mB = 2mA and

M = 5mA . Neglecting the flight time of the exhaust between rockets, show that when

the two rockets have the same speed vs that it is given by the expression

3

2

vs = u0 ln

.

[5]

mB /2. After consuming 45% of its fuel, Rocket A reverses the direction of its exhaust

and heads back towards Rocket B. Can Rocket A catch Rocket B? Justify your answer.

[5]

9. A wheel consists of a circular uniform disk with a circular hole in it. The disc is

of radius R and mass per unit area . The hole is of radius ro and an axle of radius ro

passes through it. The centre of the hole is offset radially from the centre of the disk by

ro . The wheel rotates without friction about the axle. Using the parallel axis theorem,

or otherwise, evaluate an expression for the moment of inertia of the wheel around the

axle. The angular speed of the wheel is , what is its kinetic energy?

[7]

The wheel is removed from the axle and rolls without slipping along a flat surface

with the same angular speed. Show that its rotational kinetic energy is less than for

the case of rotation about the axle.

[4]

slipping. It starts from rest with the centre of the hole directly above the centre of the

disk. Neglecting the contribution of the hole to kinetic energy, use the Euler Lagrange

method to show that, with an appropriate choice of coordinate s, the equation of motion

for the wheel can be written in the form

d2 s

+ K1 sin(s) + K2 = 0 ,

dt 2

and evaluate expressions for the constants K1 , K2 and .

4286

[9]

10. A relativistic particle of mass m1 and energy E collides with a stationary particle

of mass m2 and produces a single new particle of mass M . Derive an expression for M .

[5]

The target particle m2 is an electron and the incident particle m1 a positron,

what is the minimum positron energy required to produce a 0 of mass 768 MeV/c2 ?

If instead the positron and electron have momenta of equal magnitude but opposite

directions, what is the energy of the positron at the threshold for 0 production?

[4]

An antiproton of energy 35 GeV from a source outside the solar system interacts

with a proton in the upper atmosphere travelling on a trajectory which is radial with

respect to the centre of the Earth. The antiproton annihilates the proton with the

final outcome that two muons each of mass 106 MeV/c2 are produced and nothing else.

The interaction takes negligible time and occurs at a height of 20 km above the Earths

surface. For the case that both muons have the same energy, as measured from the

Earth, what is the probability that they will both reach the surface? The lifetime of a

muon is 2.2 s.

[11]

11. The energy E of an object of mass m0 orbiting in the gravitational field of a body

of mass M m0 is given by the expression

1

dr

E = m0

2

dt

2

J2

GM m0

.

2m0 r2

r

[6]

impulse that increases its kinetic energy by a factor of , where > 1. The impulse

does not change the angular momentum of the satellite relative to the planet. With

the aid of sketches show how this can happen and calculate the distance of closest and

furthest approach from the centre of the planet.

[8]

A satellite is launched from a space station. The intended orbit for the satellite is

circular of radius R. The magnitude of the velocity required was correctly set at launch,

but the direction of the launch was in error by an angle in the plane of the intended

orbit. Derive an expression for the maximum separation of the actual and intended

orbits.

[6]

4286

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