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CLASSICAL MECHANICS

PHY 2511

UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA

SCHOOL OF NATURAL SCIENCES

©Copyright

This module has specifically been written for distance education students of the University of Zambia.

The program may use the module in all reasonable ways. However, the copyright remains with the

author. No part of this module may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,

electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and

retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

SCHOOL OF NATURAL SCIENCES, DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS.

Acknowledgement

I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Mweene for his acceptance to allow me use material from his

module for Fast Track Teacher Education Programme. Without his good gesture, this module could

not have been completed in time as some of the materials presented here were directly taken from his

module which already has a structure for a course in Classical Mechanics, Analytical Mechanics and

Special Theory of Relativity for a programme such as the one for distance education.

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

Contents

Contents i

How this Module is structured .......................................................................................... 1

Module overview 3

Welcome to Classical Mechanics Module (PHY 2511) ................................................... 3

CLASSICAL MECHANICS Module. Is this module for you? ........................................ 3

Timeframe ......................................................................................................................... 4

Study skills ........................................................................................................................ 4

Need help? ........................................................................................................................ 6

Assignments ...................................................................................................................... 6

Assessments ...................................................................................................................... 7

Margin icons ..................................................................................................................... 8

Chapter 1 10

1.0 Introduction .................................................................................................. 11

1.1 The Cartesian Coordinate System ................................................................ 11

1.2 The Plane Polar Coordinate System ............................................................ 14

1.3 The Cylindrical Polar Coordinate System ................................................... 20

1.4 The Spherical Polar Coordinate System ...................................................... 23

1.5 Summary ...................................................................................................... 28

1.6 Exercises ...................................................................................................... 28

Chapter 2 30

2.0 Introduction .................................................................................................. 31

2.1 Motion of a Particle in One Dimension ....................................................... 33

2.1.1 The Free Particle .......................................................................................... 33

2.1.2 Particle Moving Under the Effect of a Constant Force ................................ 34

2.1.3 The Simple Harmonic Oscillator .................................................................. 36

2.2 General Treatment of Motion in One Dimension ........................................ 38

2.2.1 Time and Velocity Dependent Forces .......................................................... 44

ii Contents

2.2.3 Velocity-Dependent Forces .......................................................................... 46

2.3 Summary ...................................................................................................... 47

2.4 Exercises ...................................................................................................... 47

Chapter 3 50

3.0 Introduction .................................................................................................. 51

3.1 General Theory ............................................................................................ 51

3.2 Particle in the Field of Gravity..................................................................... 53

3.3 Force and Work............................................................................................ 56

3.4 Force and Work............................................................................................ 56

3.5 Force and Work (The Del Operator) ............................................................ 58

3.6 Angular Momentum ..................................................................................... 62

3.7 Central Force Motion ................................................................................... 64

3.8 Summary ...................................................................................................... 69

3.9 Exercises ...................................................................................................... 69

Chapter 4 72

4.0 Introduction .................................................................................................. 73

4.1 Displacement in Simple Harmonic Motion ................................................. 74

4.2 Velocity and Acceleration in Simple Harmonic Motion ............................. 78

4.3 The Energy of a Harmonic Oscillator .......................................................... 78

4.4 Simple Harmonic Motion in Nature ............................................................ 84

4.5 Rotary Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion ............................................. 88

4.6 Damped Oscillations .................................................................................... 91

4.7 Energy Dissipation in Damped Motion ....................................................... 98

4.8 Summary .................................................................................................... 100

4.8 Exercises .................................................................................................... 101

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

This module on Classical Mechanics has been structured as outlined

below.

The course overview

Information contained in the course overview will help you determine:

How much time you will need to invest to complete the course.

Study skills.

Activity icons.

Units.

starting your study.

Module overview

Unit outcomes.

New terminology.

A unit summary.

Resources

For those interested in learning more on this subject, we provide you with

a list of additional resources at the end of this Module; these may be

books, articles or web sites.

Your comments

appreciate it if you would take a few moments to give us your feedback

on any aspect of this course. Your feedback might include comments on:

Or is the material too bulky?)

and useful?)

consistent with what is given in the module? Did you feel

comfortable solving the problems?

terms of marks distribution)

course.

2

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

Module overview

7.

Module (PHY 2511)

This Module is one of the modules in second year Physics for student

taking the Distance Education Science program in which Physics as one

of their subjects of study at the University of Zambia.

Is this module for you?

This course is intended for people who are pursuing a degree in Science

Education and studying Physics as one of the subjects.

is, however, advisable that apart from PHY 1010, the learner should have

a good understanding of Mathematics covering topics such as Differential

Equations ( first and second order), Partial Differential Equations,

Complex numbers, Integral Equations, Matrices and Trigonometry.

3

Module overview

Timeframe

This is the module for Classical Mechanics that you will study during your programme.

The other module in the field of Mechanics is PHY 2522-called Analytical Mechanics

and the Special Theory of Relativity. Both modules should be completed in the second

year of study.

The modules cover material (work) for one academic year. For both in each unit, the

time frame required to study the material adequately is indicated. The time indicated is

How long? not the time for lectures but time for self study. Lectures may take less or more time

than indicated. It is advisable to study PHY 2511 first before proceeding to PHY 2522,

however, there are units in PHY 2522 which can be studied independent of those units in

the PHY 2511 module

Study skills

from your school days: you will choose what you want to study, you will

have professional and/or personal motivation for doing so and you will

most likely be fitting your study activities around other professional or

domestic responsibilities.

consequence, you will need to consider performance issues related to

time management, goal setting, stress management, etc. Perhaps you will

also need to reacquaint yourself in areas such as essay planning, coping

with exams and using the web as a learning resource.

Your most significant considerations will be time and space i.e. the time

you dedicate to your learning and the environment in which you engage

in that learning.

study—to familiarize yourself with these issues. There are a number of

excellent resources on the web. A few suggested links are:

http://www.how-to-study.com/

resources. You will find links to study preparation (a list of nine

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CLASSICAL MECHANICS

reading text books, using reference sources, test anxiety.

http://www.ucc.vt.edu/stdysk/stdyhlp.html

Affairs. You will find links to time scheduling (including a

“where does time go?” link), a study skill checklist, basic

concentration techniques, control of the study environment, note

taking, how to read essays for analysis, memory skills

(“remembering”).

http://www.howtostudy.org/resources.php

management, efficient reading, questioning/listening/observing

skills, getting the most out of doing (“hands-on” learning),

memory building, tips for staying motivated, developing a

learning plan.

The above links are our suggestions to start you on your way. At the time

of writing these web links were active. If you want to look for more go to

www.google.com and type “self-study basics”, “self-study tips”, “self-

study skills” or similar. A part from the given web site addresses, there is

a free book at bookboon.com entitled-“Strategies to Fight Exam Stress

and Achieve Success” ISBN 978-87-7681-917-0 by Will Stringer. This

is an excellent book which gives you guidance on many aspects of

preparing for an exam.

5

Module overview

Need help?

You may find some resources on other website or contact Prof. Reccab

Ochieng Manyala at the Department of Physics, School of Natural

Sciences, University of Zambia. E-mail address: reccabo@yahoo.com.

Help

for matters related to the course. You are also free to consult with any

academic member of staff in the Department of Physics; they are always

willing to help students. In case I am not the one taking you in this

course, you will consult with the lecturer concerned. Though we have

endeavored to make this unit “mistake free” as much as possible, there

could be some mistakes. We encourage you to point out these mistakes

to your course mates so that they do not get the wrong ideas. Please also

point out the mistakes to the lecturer concerned during the course.

Assignments

module. Details of these assignments will be given to you during the

residential school. Be sure to write these assignments because they have

a bearing on your continuous assessment grades.

Assignments

During the residential school, you will be directed where to submit all

written assignments.

the following address:

The Director,

University of Zambia

6

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

LUSAKA

Assessments

required to carry out experiments in the laboratory and write laboratory

reports that shall be graded. At the same time you will be assigned

Assessments

questions (tutorials) that you will be told to attempt and hand in at

appropriate scheduled times. The questions will also be graded. During

the course a minimum of two written tests will be administered and

graded. Finally, you will be required to write a final examination in the

course. The weighting of these assessment items will be as follows:

3. Tutorials 5% 5%

Note. In the case where only one test is given, the test will account for

20%.

Please ensure that you avail yourself for all these assessment items

because they will account for your final grade.

7

8

Margin icons

While working through this module you will notice the frequent use of

margin icons. These icons serve to “signpost” a particular piece of text, a

new task or change in activity; they have been included to help you to

find your way around this Module.

yourself with the icons and their meaning before starting your study.

This module has been written with you as a learner in mind. On the left

margins of each page, reasonable spaces have been left. This is not for

the beauty of the module but the spaces are for you to interact with the

module. You can carry out calculations in the spaces provided, you can

make short note in these spaces or even make comments and put

reminders to help you in your study of this course.

8

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

9

10

Chapter 1

Unit 1 Vectors and their Applications

You are supposed to spend a minimum of 10 hrs to complete this unit. The

10 hrs does not include time for the exercises which you are advised to do

at your own pace in a reasonable manner

OBJECTIVES

(1) The first objective of this unit is to introduce the learner to the coordinate systems that are

most common in the solution of problems in Physics.

(1) Differentiate between the coordinate systems that are commonly used in solution of physics

problems.

(3) Recognise and identify the correct and appropriate coordinate system to use for a particular

problem.

10

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1.0 Introduction

To solve many problems in Mechanics or Physics for that matter, it is

often necessary to be able to specify the position of its constituents. This

is a very important stage in the search for a solution because the wrong

choice of coordinates may render the problem difficult or not solvable at

all. The position of the constituents of a system requires the use of

specific coordinate system. We shall make a formal study of the different

options available to be able to solve problems in this module. The four

most commonly used coordinate systems are: the Cartesian or

rectangular coordinate system, the Plane polar coordinate system, the

Cylindrical coordinate system and the Spherical polar coordinate system.

The Cartesian coordinate system is the most widely used of all the

coordinate systems. This is a system we encounter in our everyday lives.

For example when we are walking, we normally walk in a straight line

and we may label that direction x . During the walk, we may want to

change direction by making a ninety degree turn. When this is done we

may label that new direction y . On the other hand we may want to jump

up. Jumping up is in a direction perpendicular to both x and y . These

movements complete the description of the Cartesian coordinate system.

Many Physics problems are framed in this coordinate system. A

complete Cartesian coordinate system is illustrated in Fig. 1. It is

constructed as follows. We first choose an origin O to which we attach

three coordinate axes labeled x , y and z which are mutually

orthogonal (perpendicular). The directed line from the origin to the point

P where a particle is located is called the position vector r . The

position of a point such as P is specified by 3 numbers or coordinates

which are the lengths of the components of the vector r , that is x , y

and z .

11

12

P x, y, z

z

Y

Each of the coordinate axes has a unit vector which gives its direction.

axes. As the names imply, each of these unit vectors has a magnitude of

unity (one). The dot product of any two arbitrary vectors A and B is

defined as

where is the angle between the vectors. Since the unit vectors are

obey the following relationships:

iˆ ˆj iˆ kˆ ˆj kˆ 0 (1.2)

Again for any two vectors A and B their cross product defined as:

containing A and B . It is therefore possible to obtain any one of the

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CLASSICAL MECHANICS

system, the formulas are:

r x, y, z (1.6)

The length of a vector is called its magnitude. For the position vector the

magnitude is given by

r r r r x2 y 2 z 2 1

2

(1.7)

For a moving point P , the coordinates change with time and are therefore

functions of time. The velocity of the point P is the time derivative of

the position vector and is therefore given by

dr ˆ dx ˆ dy ˆ dz

v i j k (1.8)

dt dt dt dt

quantity in question. This notation allows us to write Eq.(1.8) as

v v v v x 2 y 2 z 2 1

2

(1.10)

this is

13

14

What is the distance of the particle from the origin?

r r 62 (5) 2 22 8.06 m

moves in space described by a vector that depends on time

as r 4t 6t 2 iˆ t 3 2 ˆj 3t 5t 2 kˆ . Calculate for t 2 s the

position, the velocity and the magnitude of the force acting on the

particle.

is given by

iˆ4 12t ˆj 3t 2 kˆ3 10t

so at t 2 s , v 20iˆ 12 ˆj 23kˆ

force is

F F 48 482 102

2

1

2

68.6 N

This is a very useful coordinate system for solving problems in curved or

circular motion in two dimensions. To construct this system; we start be

defining an origin O , and from that origin draw a horizontal reference

14

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

line labeled X which extends to the negative side. From the origin again

draw a vertical reference line labeled Y and extending in both positive

and negative directions (see Fig. 2).

Y P

O X

The position of the point P is measured from the origin defined by the

parameters r (the length from O to P) and the angle which the line OP

makes with the horizontal reference line in the counter-clockwise

direction. The coordinates of P are then given as r , . It is possible to

obtain transformation equations which connect the plane polar

coordinates and the Cartesian coordinates using Fig. 3. The reference line

coincides with the positive x axis. By simple trigonometry, we

establish that

x r cos (1.12)

y r sin (1.13)

r x2 y 2

1

2

(1.14)

and

y x y

arctan cos1 sin 1 (1.15)

x x2 y2 x2 y2

15

16

In terms of the Cartesian unit vectors iˆ and ĵ , the radial unit vector is

Fig.4: Relation between unit vectors r̂ , ˆ and iˆ, ˆj .

16

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

that rˆ ˆ 0 . From these equations, we can solve for the Cartesian unit

vectors to obtain

and

r rrˆ (1.20)

d

r (rrˆ) rrˆ rrˆ (1.21)

dt

changes. Therefore, unlike the Cartesian unit vectors which are fixed and

have non-vanishing time derivatives. The time derivative of the radial

unit vector is

d

rˆ (iˆ cos ˆj sin )

dt

iˆ sin ˆj cos

(iˆ sin ˆj cos )

ˆ (1.22)

Hence

components:

vr r (1.24)

and

17

18

v r (1.25)

These are respectively called the radial and angular components of the

velocity and are mutually orthogonal. The radial component vr is the

v r 2 r 2 2

1

2

(1.27)

a

dv dr d

dt dt dt

rrˆ rˆ

(1.28)

dr drˆ d dr ˆ d ˆ dˆ d

rˆ r r r

dt d dt dt dt dt dt

rrˆ r ˆ rˆ rˆ r rˆ

That is,

a r r rˆ r 2r ˆ (1.29)

acceleration ar and the angular acceleration a given by

2

v v2

r 2 r (1.32)

r r

which is called the centripetal acceleration arising from the motion in the

direction. Furthermore, if r is held constant in time then, r r 0

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CLASSICAL MECHANICS

2 2

Example 1.3: What are the polar coordinates of the point (2, 7) ?

Solution: Using equation (14), we find r (2)2 72 1

2

=7.28. From

7

Eq. (15) we find arctan 105.9 . Therefore

0

2

(r , ) (7.28, 105.9).

Note: When the tangent is negative, the required angle could be in the

second or fourth quadrant. The correct quadrant is determined by which

component of the position vector is giving rise to the negative sign. If it

is the x component as in this case, the angle is in the second quadrant. If

it is the y coordinate, the angle is in the fourth quadrant.

r iˆb sin t ˆjb cost , where b and are constants. What are its

plane polar coordinates? Determine its acceleration in plane polar

coordinates and describe the motion of the particle.

r x2 y 2 1

2

b

1

2

sin 2 t b 2 cos2 t 2

b

and

t

Description of the motion: the particle is moving on the circumference of

a circle of radius b centred on the origin. The angular velocity of the

particle is constant value . The acceleration is

19

20

a r r rˆ r 2r ˆ

b 2 rˆ b 2 rˆ

This is a three-dimensional coordinate system constructed by adding a z

axis at right angles to the plane polar coordinate system that we studied in

the last section. The system is shown in Fig. 5.

vectors ˆ , ˆ, ẑ .

The unit vectors are in the directions of the increasing vectors associated

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CLASSICAL MECHANICS

cylindrical coordinates are: (see Fig. 5)

x cos (1.33)

y sin (1.34)

zz (1.35)

x 2 y 2 2

1

(1.36)

y y x

tan 1 sin 1 cos1 (1.37)

x x2 y 2 x2 y2

The unit vectors in this system are ˆ , ˆ and k̂ . Here ̂ is the same as

vectors are mutually orthogonal, and so obey

ˆ ˆ ˆ kˆ ˆ kˆ 0 (1.38)

may write the new unit vectors in terms of the Cartesian unit vectors as

kˆ kˆ or ẑ ẑ (1.41)

ˆ ˆ kˆ, ˆ kˆ ˆ , kˆ ˆ ˆ (1.42)

dˆ ˆ dˆ

and ˆ (1.43)

d d

21

22

the position vector and are therefore implicitly functions of time.

point P can therefore be represented by

where is the distance of P from the Z-axis and gives its angular

rotation from the X-axis, while z gives its elevation above the XY plane.

Thus we may write the velocity vector, keeping in mind that ˆ ˆ ( ) ,

as

v r

d

dt

ˆ kˆz

d dˆ d dz ˆ dkˆ

ˆ kz

dt d dt dt dt

ˆ (ˆ) zkˆ

dkˆ

where 0.

dt

Hence,

Using Eq. (1.23) from the previous section with r replaced by and

v2 v v ˆ ˆ zkˆ ˆ ˆ zkˆ

2 22 z 2 (1.46)

and

v 2 22 z 2

1

2

(1.47)

a

dv d

dt dt

ˆ ˆ zkˆ

22

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

a 2 ˆ 2 ˆ zkˆ (1.48)

Example 1.5: A bead slides on a wire bent into the form of a helix. The

motion of the bead is given in cylindrical coordinates by

b, t , z ct , where b, , and c are constants.

Determine the velocity and the acceleration of the bead.

Solution:

and

a b 2 ˆ

We now use our knowledge of the previous sections to build up the

spherical polar coordinate system. Things will now be easy because we

have developed all the tools we require for this work. Spherical polar

coordinates or spherical coordinates are the most commonly used

coordinates in situations where spherical symmetry-for example, in the

case coulomb forces in atoms and gravitational forces. The coordinate

system is illustrated in Fig. 6. It is formed by adding a third axis to the

plane polar coordinate system, but with the component of the position

vector along this axis measured by means of an angle which gives the

inclination vector to this axis. The coordinates of a point P are

r, , . The position vector r has a length r and its z component is

given by

z r cos (1.49)

23

24

the azimuthal angle locating a plane whose angle of rotation is measured

from the X-axis, while is the polar angle measured down from the Z-

axis. The polar angle can have any value between 0 and / 2 , while

the azimuthal angle can have any value between 0 and . These

limits restrict the description or motion of point P to the first half of the

sphere on the upper plane. It is not uncommon to extend the description

to include the whole sphere.

unit vectors r̂ , ˆ, ˆ . (b) Orientation of unit vectors r̂ , ˆ, ˆ relative

shining straight down the Z-axis so that it casts a shadow of the position

vector in the XY-plane. This shadow is clearly the same as the quantity

of the cylindrical coordinate system. In terms of this shadow

therefore, the x and y coordinates are

x cos (1.50)

24

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

y sin (1.51)

r sin (1.52)

r x2 y 2 z 2

1

2

(1.55)

2 x2 y 2 (1.56)

tan (1.57)

z

Therefore,

x2 y 2

tan 1 (1.58)

z

y

tan 1 (1.59)

x

coordinates are r̂ , ˆ, and ˆ as shown in Fig. 6 (a) and (b). Also

shown are the unit vectors iˆ, ˆj , and zˆ ( kˆ ) , and ̂ . The unit

vector ˆ lies in the XY plane, while rˆ, ˆ, ˆ , and zˆ all lie in one

vertical plane. In terms of the Cartesian unit vectors, the unit vectors of

25

26

the spherical polar coordinate system are as follows. The radial unit

vector is

For the unit vector in the direction, the z component is easily deduced

to be sin . To obtain the x and y coordinates of this unit vector, we

shine a light on it from the top parallel to the Z axis. The shadow of the

unit vector ˆ in the XY plane has a length cos so that its x and y

components are cos cos and cos sin respectively. As a result

The unit vectors are mutually orthogonal and therefore obey the

following rules

rˆ ˆ rˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 0 (1.63)

rˆ ˆ rˆ ˆ

sin

ˆ ˆ ˆ

rˆ cos (1.65)

ˆ ˆ

0 ˆ rˆ sin ˆ cos

drawing figures similar to the ones in the case of plane polar coordinates.

by the position vector r :

26

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

We can now find expressions for velocity and acceleration by making use

of the preceding relations. Thus

drˆ drˆ

v r (rrˆ) rrˆ( , ) rˆ r

d d dr

rrˆ r (1.67)

dt dt dt dt dt

( , ) sin (1.68)

dt d dt d dt

Hence we obtain

Similarly,

a v r

dv d

dt dt

rrˆ rˆ (r sin )ˆ (1.70)

(r 2r r sin cos2 )ˆ (1.71)

(r sin 2r sin 2r cos )ˆ

r brˆ, B sin t , ct

acceleration of the particle. Give a complete description of the trajectory

of the particle.

and

27

28

(b 2 B sin t bc2 sin( B sin t ) cos(B sin t ))ˆ

2bcB cost cos(B cost ) ˆ

of radius b thus keeping a fixed distance from the origin. From

axis with constant angular velocity c . At the same time the polar

angle changes as if the particle is performing simple harmonic motion in

the plane instantaneously defined the position vector and the Z-axis.

Viewed from the top, the particle seems as if it is a pendulum of

amplitude B and angular frequency whose plane of swing is

1.5 Summary

In this unit we have familiarized ourselves with some of the most

common coordinate systems used to solve problems in Physics. There

are a number of other coordinate systems, but they are generally used at

higher level. A good mastery of the particular coordinate systems treated

in this unit will be sufficient for any problems you as the learner will

encounter in this course.

1.6 Exercises

1.0 A honey bee homes in its hive in a spiral path in such a way that

the radial distance decreases at a constant rate, so that r b ct , while

k are constants. Find the speed of the bee as a function of time.

28

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

an insect crawls outward on a radial line in such a way that its radial

distance increases quadratically with time, so that

acceleration of the insect.

car varies with time t according to the equation v ct , where c is a

positive constant, show that the angle between the velocity vector and the

the particle and sketch its trajectory.

that the position of the ant is given by the spherical polar coordinate

1

r b, t , 1 cos 4t

2 4

Determine the speed of the ant as a function of time and describe the sort

of path represented by this equation.

r iˆa sin t ˆjb cost , where a , b and are constants. By

eliminating t , show that the path of the particle is an ellipse. Obtain the

speed of the particle.

29

30

Chapter 2

Unit 2 Particle Dynamics in One Dimension

You should be able to cover this unit in 20 hrs. This time period does not

include the time for solving problems in the exercises. You may solve the

exercises at your own convenient pace.

OBJECTIVES

(2) To teach the learner how to solve one-dimensional problems involving position and velocity

dependent forces.

(3) To teach the learner how to solve the dynamical problem in two and three dimensions.

(4) To acquaint the learner with the properties of motion under a conservative force.

30

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

2.0 Introduction

The fundamental problem of mechanics is to determine how a particle

moves under the action of a particular force. For example, the motion of

a particle of mass m along a straight line which we may consider to be

the x axis under the direction of a force directed along the x axis ,

constitutes a one dimensional problem. Newton’s second law is the

fundamental equation for treating problems in dynamics.

mass m , the effect is to impart to the particle an acceleration a given by

F

a (2.1)

m

Newton’s second law (Eq. 2.1), leads in two or three dimensions to the

vector equation. In Cartesian coordinates, two dimension equations is

equivalent to two component equations and in three dimensions to three

component equations.

These are

d 2x d2y d 2z

m Fx , m Fy , m Fz (2.2)

dt 2 dt 2 dt 2

dynamical problems reduce to solving these equations. It is usual in

dynamics to indicate the time derivative by placing a dot over the

quantity being differentiated and so we can write the vector equation as

31

32

d 2r

m F mr (2.3)

dt 2

clear that if the force is zero, the equation of motion is

mr 0 (2.4)

In other words

dv

m 0 (2.5)

dt

mv C (2.6)

dimensions of momentum and we denote it by p0 . This allows us to

write

mv p0 (2.7)

Eq. (2.7) tells us that the linear momentum p mv is constant when the

force is zero. The equation is therefore a statement of the law of

conservation of linear momentum and states that: The linear momentum

of a particle which is isolated so that no force acts on it is conserved.

dr

v p0 / m v (2.8)

dt

dr v0 dt (2.9)

r v0t D (2.10)

displacement. Since r D when t 0 , this constant is just the initial

32

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

reference point.

has a value v (3, 1, 7) when the particle is at position

(2.10), we obtain the position of the particle 5 s later as

r (16, 0, 37) . The distance travelled is

152 52 372 225 25 1,369 1,619 40.24

We start our study of dynamics by considering the case of a particle

moving in one dimension (one direction only). We assume that the

motion is along the x axis, so that the equation of motion is

mx F ( x, t ) (2.11)

particle becomes

mx 0 (2.12)

x 0 (2.13)

33

34

x v0t x0 (2.14)

Next we consider the case of a constant force k acting on a particle. We

assume that the particle is moving in one dimension taken as the

x direction. The equation of motion is then

mx k (2.15)

Using

dv

x (2.16)

dt

and following the procedure of Eq. (2.9), we are able to write this as

k

dv dt (2.17)

m

whose solution is

v at A (2.18)

that we assumed a constant for F k ) The result then follows from

Newton’s second law (Eq. 2.1).

A v0 (2.19)

v at v0 (2.20)

Using

dx

v (2.21)

dt

34

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1 2

x at v0t B (2.23)

2

displacement.

x x0 when t 0 (2.24)

B x0 (2.25)

1 2

x at v0t x0 (2.26)

2

1 2

x at v0t (2.27)

2

When a g as in the case of a body moving under gravity, then

1 2

y gt v0t (2.28)

2

1

s ut at 2 (2.29)

2

35

36

5 m/s . Where was the particle 10 s earlier?

require the position at t 10 s . From the given information, the

Simple harmonic motion is the case involving a particle acted upon by a

restoring force that is proportional to its displacement from the

equilibrium position. Denoting the displacement by x , the resulting

equation of motion is

k

2 (2.31)

m

becomes

x 2 x (2.32)

is

x x0 sint (2.33)

where is called the phase angle. We shall analyze this further when

we carry out detailed study on simple harmonic oscillators

36

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

motion at time t 0 . Determine the expression, x (t ) , that describes the

motion of the particle at any subsequent later time t .

initial conditions are therefore x A and x 0 when t 0 . Now

Substituting the initial conditions in Eqs. (2.35) and (2.36), we obtain the

following system of equations

x0 sin A (2.37)

x0 sin A (2.39)

x0 cos 0 (2.40)

x02 sin2 x02 cos2 x02 sin2 cos2 A2 (2.41)

so that

x02 A2 x0 A (2.42)

(2.39) by Eq. (2.40) to get

A

tan (2.43)

0

37

38

The smallest angle for which this is true is / 2, which means that

x A sin t A cost (2.44)

2

motion in one-dimension. Such a force which does not depend on time is

called static or conservative force.

First we multiply both sides of this equation by x to obtain

mxx F ( x) x (2.46)

dx dx

mx F ( x) (2.47)

dt dt

or

1 2

mx F ( x)dx E (2.49)

2

kinetic energy, the term on the right-hand side must also be an energy, as

is the constant of integration.

Rewriting this as

1 2

mx F ( x)dx E (2.50)

2

38

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

The second term on the left-hand side is called the potential (energy and

is denoted by V (x) and defined as

V ( x) F ( x)dx (2.51)

particle through a distance x.

1 2

mx V ( x) E (2.52)

2

The equation is telling us that the sum of the two energies on the left hand

side is always constant. It is a statement of the conservation of energy.

We can solve for the velocity from Eq. (2.52) and obtain

x

2

E V ( x ) (2.53)

m

dx

2

E V ( x ) (2.54)

dt m

or

dx

dt (2.55)

2

E V ( x )

m

dx

t (2.56)

2

E V ( x )

m

Once we find t t (x) , we can invert the expression to find x x(t ) .

We now give some examples to illustrate these concepts.

39

40

Example 2.4: Starting from the fact that a particle moving under a

constant force F ( x) k obey the stated principles above, show that if it

starts from the origin with velocity v0 at time t 0 , then its motion can

dx

t (2.58)

2

E kx

m

Since

bx bx 2

1 2 1

2 dx (2.59)

b

it follows that

1

m 2 2

t ( E kx) (2.60)

k m

so that

1

m 2 2

( E kx) t (2.61)

k m

we see that

1 2

E mv0 (2.62)

2

Employing this in Eq. (2.61) and remembering that this condition arises

when t 0 , we obtain

mv0

(2.63)

k

Hence

40

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1

m 2 2

mv0

( E kx) t (2.64)

k m k

t 2 (2.65)

k2 k k k

t 2 2 (2.66)

k k k k

obtain

k 2 mv 2 E

x t v0t

2m 2k k

k 2 mv 2 mv02

x t v0t (2.67)

2m 2k 2k

that

mv 2 mv02

(2.68)

2k 2k

Hence

1 2

x at v0t (2.69)

2

required solution for the problem.

41

42

Example 2.5: Using the same approach as in example 2.4 above. (a)

show that for a simple harmonic oscillator in which the force is

2E

F ( x) kx , the position at any time is given by x sin (t t0 ) .

k

If the amplitude is b , (b) show that the total energy is given by

1 2

E kb .

2

energy is

1 2

V ( x) kxdx kx (2.70)

2

so that

dx

t t0 (2.71)

2 1 2

E kx

m 2

Therefore

1

m 2

dx

t t0

k

b 2

x2

(2.72)

where

2E

b (2.73)

k

x b sin (2.74)

With

we have

1 1

m 2

b cosd m 2

t t0

k

b cos k (2.78)

42

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1

k 2

(t t0 ) (2.79)

m

and

k 12

x b sin (t t0 ) (2.80)

m

Recalling that

1

k 2

(2.81)

m

sin (t t0 )

2E

x (2.82)

k

(b) We know that the total energy must be the sum of the kinetic

energy and the potential energy, that is

1

Etotal KE PE KE kx2 (2.83)

2

We need to work out the kinetic energy and also obtain the maximum

potential energy.

1 2

KE mx (2.84)

2

x b cos (t t0 ) (2.85)

1 2 2 1

Etotal mb cos2 kb2 sin 2 (2.86)

2 2

43

44

We now use Eq. (2.81) to eliminate m and 2 from the first term of this

expression. The result is

1 2 1

Etotal kb cos2 kb2 sin 2 (2.87)

2 2

Factoring out the common terms in Eq. (2.87) and using the trigonometric

identity cos2 sin2 1 , where in this case, we finally get

1 2

Etotal kb (2.88)

2

Two categories of forces that we have not discussed in our treatment of

one dimensional dynamics are the time and velocity dependent forces.

There are the purely time-dependent and purely velocity dependent

forces. Sometimes we say that they are explicitly dependent. We shall

only discuss these forces very briefly because for the time-dependent

forces, the solutions can be obtained in two successive integrations with

respect to time. However, the velocity-dependent forces constitute a very

large topic which we have no time for in such a compressed module.

If the force is explicitly dependent on time t , the differential equation of

motion for constant mass is

dv

F (t ) m (2.89)

dt

F (t )dt mv(t ) mv

0

0 (2.90)

44

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

The integral on the left-hand side of Eq. (2.90) is called the IMPULSE

and it is equal to the change of momentum imparted to a body by a force

F (t ) acting over a certain interval of time.

integration, that is, we can write from Eq.(2.90)

t

dx F (t )

v(t ) v0 dt (2.91)

dt 0

m

t

F (t )

t t

x x0 v(t )dt v0t dt dt (2.92)

0 0 0

m

Provided the form of F (t ) and the initial conditions are given, the

position as a function of time can easily be obtained.

We shall consider as an example the case where the force is constant. For

this case we have

t

F Ft

v(t ) v0 dt v0 (2.93)

m0 m

and

t

F

m 0

x(t ) x0 v0t dt (2.94)

or

Ft 2

x(t ) x0 v0t (2.95)

2m

F

a , giving

m

at 2

x(t ) x0 v0t (2.96)

2

45

46

For x0 0

at 2

x(t ) v0t (2.97)

2

The other time-dependent forces that we are not going to discuss here are

the step forces. However, just to understand what these step forces are,

we provide a brief discussion.

that is time-dependent is called “ the jerk”. It is a uniformly increasing

force.. Such a force can be represented by F (t ) ct , where c is a

constant. It is obvious that this force increases with time.

Many situations in everyday occurrences exist in addition to constant

applied forces where the forces are functions of velocity. For example,

when a body is in a gravitational field, in addition to the gravitational

force, there exists a force of air resistance on the falling or rising body.

This resisting force is some complicated function of velocity. The same

is true for objects moving through fluids (gases and liquids). Such

opposing forces to the motion of objects through fluids are called

VISCOUS FORCES or VISCOUS RESISTANCE. In cases where they

exist, Newton’s second law may be applied in the following form:

dv

F (v ) m (2.98)

dt

or

dv dx dv

F (v ) m mv (2.99)

dx dt dx

46

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

Knowing the form of the force F (v ) , either of the two equations Eq.

(2.98) or (2.99) may be solved to analyze the motion, that is, to calculate

x as a function of time t .

2.3 Summary

In this unit we have learned how to treat dynamical problems in one

dimension. The methods that have been presented are instructive and

therefore need to be generalized to the case of two and three dimensions.

This is the task in the next unit. From a formal point of view, the

equations that have been given can be used to obtain exact solutions of

the problem; however, there are many practical difficulties in

implementing them. For example, the integrals that need to be performed

may be intractable, but there are so-called numerical methods for treating

such cases. As far as we are concerned in this unit we have been able to

solve the one dimensional problem under position dependent-force

completely.

2.4 Exercises

2.0 A pendulum of length l is pulled to the side and by an angle 0

(ii) Show that if the angle of swing is small, the pendulum performs

simple harmonic motion.

the time t according to the equation

47

48

v0

x (1 e kt )

k

(i) Obtain the velocity and the force acting on the particle

(iv) F ( x) F0 sin kx

F ( x) 7t 5 3t 2 2

in Newtons. Calculate

whose potential energy is given by

V ( x) ax2 (b x)

the earth. Neglecting air resistance, write down the equation of motion of

the body and hence find the velocity with which it hits the earth.

fixed origin of force that attracts the particle according to the inverse-

square law

F ( x) kx2

48

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1

mb3 2

T

8k

cx

(i) F ( x) F0 cx (ii) F ( x ) F0 e (iii) F ( x) F0 coscx

with speed v ( x ) / x , where x is its distance from the origin and

49

50

Chapter 3

Unit 3 Particle Dynamics in Two and Three

Dimensions

You should be able to cover this unit in 20 hrs. This time period does not

include the time for solving problems in the exercises. You may solve the

exercises at your own convenient pace.

OBJECTIVES

(1) To use the knowledge acquired in unit 2 to tackle problems in two and three dimensions

(1) Solve two and three dimensional problems involving position dependent forces.

(4) Solve specific standard conservative force problems in two and three dimensions.

50

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

(9) Use the Del. Operator to generate the components of angular momentum in three dimensions.

3.0 Introduction

In the previous unit, we studied the dynamics of a particle in one

dimension. Many important dynamical systems fall in this category. But

nature is three-dimensional and we naturally have to extend our

discussion to the case of particles moving in three dimensions. There are

also important situations where two-dimensional motion exists. In this

unit we generalize the theory we developed earlier to the case of two and

three-dimensional motion.

In three-dimensional motion, the force is in general given by F ( r , t ) .

The equation of motion is then

mr F (r , t ) (3.1)

F F (r ) , this makes the treatment of the problem somewhat simpler.

The vector equation (3.1) can be written in Cartesian-component form as

mx Fx

my Fy (3.2)

mz Fz

In some cases the form of the force may warrant that the motion be

treated using a different coordinate system. If spherical polar coordinates

are used, then the component form of the equation of motion is

51

52

m(r 2r r sin cos2 ) F

(3.3)

m(r sin 2r sin 2r cos ) F

force. For this type of force, the equation of motion takes a simple form

because the force does not depend on the radial coordinate and and

so can be expressed as

F f (r )rˆ (3.4)

motion takes place on a plane (may be xy, xz, or yz ). This will

depend on the plane of choice. The components of the equation of

motion are

m(r r 2 ) f (r )

(3.5)

m(r 2r) 0

Eq. (3.1) is analogous to the one that was adopted for the one-

dimensional motion case. We take the dot product of Eq. (3.1) with r to

obtain

mv v F v (3.7)

We know that

v2 v v (3.8)

and

d (v 2 ) d dv dv dv

(v v ) v v 2v (3.9)

dt dt dt dt dt

obtain

52

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1 d (v 2 ) dv

v (3.10)

2 dt dt

1 d (v 2 ) dr

m F (3.11)

2 dt dt

which yields

1

m d ( v 2 ) F dr (3.12)

2

1

m v 2 F dr E (3.13)

2

This equation is evidently the counterpart of Eq. (2.50) and is a statement

of the conservation of energy and takes the form

K V (r ) E (3.14)

while the potential energy

V (r ) F r (3.15)

Problems of particle motion in the field of gravity are quite common as

occurring near the surface of the earth so that the force acting on the

particle is taken to be constant. We shall now take into account the

variation of this force with distance from the centre of the earth.

According to Newton’s law of universal gravitation, the force with which

the earth acts on a particle of mass m in its vicinity is given by

53

54

GMm

Fr (3.16)

r2

constant and r is the distance of the particle measured from the centre of

the earth to the centre of the particle. We have taken in this case the earth

to be a uniform sphere so that its gravitational attraction is equivalent to

that of a point mass M located at its centre. Since we are dealing with a

spherical system (3-Dimensions), the equation of motion has three

components. For the present problem, we shall ignore the components

component and write

GMm

mr (3.17)

r2

distance of separation is

r Rx (3.18)

It is clear from the above equation that r x , since the radius of the

earth R is constant. Eq. (3.17) may then be written as

GMm

mx Fx (3.19)

( R x) 2

GMm

V ( x) dx

( R x) 2

(3.20)

GMm

Rx

1 2 GMm

E mv (3.21)

2 Rx

54

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1 2 GMm 1 2 GMm

mv0 mv (3.22)

2 R 2 Rx

2GM 2GM

v02 v 2 (3.23)

Rx R

and is therefore such that

2GM 2GM

v02 (3.24)

RH R

the gravitational pull of the earth, we must ensure that H . This

gives the speed of projection as

2GM

v0 (3.25)

R

From

GMm

mg (3.26)

R2

the equation which holds at the surface of the earth, the acceleration due

to gravity g can be written as

GM

g (3.27)

R2

v0 2 gR (3.28)

project a particle from the surface of the earth to ensure that it escapes the

earth’s gravity. Since g 9.8 m/s2 and R 6.4 106 m ,

55

56

when their gravitational constants are known.

We can now carry out a more detailed study on the potential energy Eq.

(3.15). We start by considering a force F which acts on a particle and

moves it through the displacement s . The work done cannot be

calculated by taking the scalar product of the force and the displacement

because the force is position dependent and therefore not constant.

Additionally, to reach the end of the displacement there are many paths

that can be followed. However, if the displacement dr is small enough,

the force is essentially constant over the infinitesimal distance dr and

the work done on the particle is

dW F dr (3.29)

rf

W F dr (3.30)

ri

by

rf r

V (r ) F dr F dr F dr C (3.31)

r rf

Statement of the work principle: The work done on a particle by a force

increases the kinetic energy of the particle by the same amount. To

demonstrate this, we start by looking again at Eq. (3.11)

56

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1 d (v 2 ) dr

m F (3.32)

2 dt dt

d 1 2 dr

mv F (3.33)

dt 2 dt

By defining

1 2

K mv (3.34)

2

dK F dr (3.35)

Therefore

dK F dr (3.36)

Since the right-hand side of this equation is the work done on the particle

by the force, we see that this equation states that the work done on a

particle by a force increases the kinetic energy of the particle by the same

amount.

Example 3.1: A body of mass 3 kg and velocity 2.3 m/s is acted upon

final speed of the body?

2

5 x 2 2 x3

2

K 5 x 2 x dx

2

4.667J

3 0

(3.37)

0 2

57

58

1 2

The original kinetic energy was K i mv i 7.935J . This shows that

2

if we add the difference to this value we should obtain the final energy.

This works out to be K f 12.602 J .

2K f

vf 2.90 m/s (3.38)

m

We have already studied the different types of forces and seen how they

arise in different situations. We shall go into more details on

conservative forces and develop a more general approach in dealing with

evaluated along the path of the particle. The exact value of the integral

depends on the path taken by the particle between the initial point ri and

the final point r f . However, for certain forces, this integral is path

such forces, it must be that the integral is given by the difference in the

values of some function at the end points. The function is denoted by

U (r ) , so that

rf

F dr U (r ) U (r )

ri

f i (3.39)

that

F dr dU U (r ) (3.40)

F dr F dx F dy F dz

x y z (3.41)

58

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

mathematical discussion on functions and their dependence on

independent variables.

x, y and z , then the change in G when the variables change from

x to x dx, y to y dy and z to z dz is

G G G

dG dx dy dz (3.42)

x y z

dG G (3.43)

function such that the components of F are just the partial derivatives of

this function with respect to the coordinates. If we let this function be

U (r ) , then we have

U U U

Fx , Fy , Fz (3.44)

x y z

so that

U U U

F dr dx dy dz (3.45)

x y z

quantity between two points is given by the difference in the values of U

at those points. It is customary to introduce a negative sign so that the

scalar function is

V (r ) U (r ) (3.46)

Then

dV (r ) dU (r ) F dr (3.47)

and

59

60

V (r ) F dr (3.48)

rectangular coordinates as

V V V

Fx dx Fy dy Fz dz dx dy dz (3.49)

x y z

V V V

Fx , Fy , and Fz (3.50)

x y z

V ˆ V ˆ V ˆ

F i j k (3.51)

x y z

By defining

ˆ ˆ ˆ

i j k (3.52)

x y z

V ˆ V ˆ V ˆ

F V i j k (3.53)

x y z

dV ( x)

Fx (3.54)

dx

operator defined in Eq. (3.51) is a vector operator called the del operator.

The expression V is called the gradient of V and is sometimes written

grad V .

The negative sign in Eq. (3.53) implies that the particle is urged to move

in the direction of increasing potential energy rather than in the opposite

direction

60

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

Suppose the potential energy function exists so that Eq. (3.50) holds, then

we can take the derivative of Fx with respect to y and the derivative of

Fx 2V Fy 2V

, (3.55)

y yx x xy

of each expression in Eq. (3.55), we see that the expressions are equal

and we can write

Fx Fy

(3.56)

y x

and (3.57)

z z z y

Fx , Fy and Fz for the potential energy function to exist and they

express that condition that

F dr Fx dx Fy dy Fz dz (3.58)

We can now introduce the cross product of the del operator on F given

as

F F F F F F

F z y iˆ z x ˆj y x kˆ (3.59)

y z x z x y

This is sometimes written with a change of sign in the second term and

the terms in the bracket switched giving

F F F F F F

F z y iˆ x z ˆj y x kˆ (3.60)

y z z x x y

(3.56) and (3.57) into Eq. (3.60) we see that

61

62

F 0 (3.61)

since each term vanishes separately. This is the condition for a force to

be conservative.

iˆ ˆj kˆ

F (3.62)

x y z

Fx Fy Fz

There are other dynamical quantities of interest that arise for a particle

moving in three dimensions. One of these quantities is the angular

momentum L . The quantity is conserved whenever the moment of the

force about the origin is zero. To show this we consider the equation of

motion given by Eq. (2.3)

mr F (3.63)

Taking the cross product of this equation with the position vector gives

r mr r F (3.64)

The right-hand side is the moment of the force F about the origin. We

want to analyze the left-hand side.

dv dp

r F r m r (3.64)

dt dt

d dp dr dp

(r p ) r pr v p (3.65)

dt dt dt dt

(3.64) can be written as

62

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

d

rF (r p ) (3.66)

dt

dL d dr dr

(r mr ) mr r m (3.67)

dt dt dt dt

This is similar to Eq. (3.65) and the first term vanishes and we conclude

that

dL d dr

(r mr ) r m r F M (3.68)

dt dt dt

Thus the moment of the force F , about the origin is equal to the time

derivative of the angular momentum. If the moment is zero, then

dL

0 (3.69)

dt

L constant (3.70)

particle. The law states that: If the moment of the net force acting on a

particle is zero, the angular momentum of the particle about the origin

is constant. We have seen that the angular momentum is just the cross

product of the position vector and the linear momentum. This means that

L rp (3.71)

and its direction is given by the right-hand rule. We move our right hand

as if we are manipulating a screw driver. If the rotary motion is from the

vector r to the vector p then L points in the direction in which the

screw would go

a compact form as

63

64

iˆ ˆj kˆ

L rp x y z (3.72)

px py pz

Therefore

Lx ypz zpy

Ly zpx xpz (3.73)

Lz xpy ypx

Now that we understand what angular momentum is, we shall treat an

important category of three-dimensional motion governed by a central

force. A central force is a static (conservative) force whose magnitude

depends only on the radial coordinates and whose direction is along the

position vector, so that it points either from the origin of the particle or

from the particle to the origin. For a central force therefore, we have Eq.

(3.4).

F f (r )rˆ (3.74)

moment M on the force acting on the particle by Eq. (3.68)

dL

rF M (3.75)

dt

dL

0 (3.77)

dt

so that

64

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

L constant (3.78)

We see that the angular momentum of a particle moving under the effect

of a central force is a constant. This result is important and implies that

far from being three-dimensional, central force motion takes place in a

plane. The proof of this is as follows.

L rp (3.79)

it is a vector at right angles to the plane containing the position vector and

the linear momentum. But since L is constant, it is in particular constant

in both magnitude and direction. Hence the plane containing position

vector r and the velocity vector v is fixed in orientation because if this

orientation is changing, then L would also change. At all times the

particle has a position vector lying in this fixed plane. We conclude that

motion under a central force always takes place in a plane of fixed

orientation.

Central force motion owes a great deal of its importance to the fact that

the gravitational force is central. Thus the motion of the earth about the

sun is characterized by a fixed angular momentum and is planer. The

motion about the moon is the same. In fact any celestial body orbiting

another moves in a plane. Another important central force is the

electrostatic force between charged particles. These two forces, the

gravitational and electrostatic, are among the most important in nature.

where we have used the definition and property of the dot product of two

vectors as given by Eq. (1.1). Using the expressions for the components

of the acceleration in spherical polar coordinates, we find from Newton’s

second law

mr F (3.81)

65

66

field are

m(r 2r r sin cos2 ) F 0 (3.82)

m(r sin 2r sin 2r cos ) F 0

which follow from Eq. (1.71) and (3.3). If we chose polar coordinates

r , in the plane of motion, only the first and second equations in Eq.

(3.82) hold and can be rewritten as

m(r r 2 ) f (r )

(3.83)

m(r 2r) 0

Now from

r rrˆ( ) (3.84)

we have

v

d

rrˆ( ) r rrˆ rˆ (3.85)

dt

as given by Eq. (1.23). The acceleration follows from Eq. (3.85) and is

a r r rˆ r 2r ˆ (3.86)

are the radial acceleration ar and the angular acceleration a given by

66

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

d d dL

(mr 2) (mrr) 0 (3.89)

dt dt dt

mr 2 L 0 (3.90)

T V E (3.91)

T

1 2 1

2 2

1

mv m rrˆ rˆ rrˆ rˆ m r 2 r 2 2

2

(3.92)

or

T

1

2

1

m r 2 m r 2 2

2

(3.93)

1 2 1 2 2

T V mr mr V (r ) E (3.94)

2 2

Eq. (3.48)

rf

V (r ) V (r ) F dr (3.95)

ri

Now from

mr 2 2 L (3.96)

67

68

1 2 L2

T V mr V (r ) E (3.97)

2 2mr 2

2 L2

v r E V (r ) (3.98)

m 2mr 2

Therefore

r

dr 2

2 L 2

m

t (3.99)

E V (r )

r0

m 2mr 2

The integral can be evaluated and the resulting equation solved for r (t ) .

t

L

0 (3.100)

0

mr 2

We have thus so far obtained the solutions of Eq. (3.83) in terms of the

four constants L, E , r0 and 0 which can be evaluated when the

initial position and the velocity in the plane are known. Furthermore the

potential energy function can have many forms such as the Yukawa

potential in nuclear particles the potential function is taken to be of the

form

ke ar

V (r ) (3.101)

r

field, the potential (potential energy) or potential energy function is

GMm GMm

V (r ) 2

dr C (3.102)

r r

68

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

3.8 Summary

In this unit, we have generalized to the case of two and three dimensions

the methods seen in unit 2 for handling dynamical problems. From the

knowledge gained, it is now possible to treat such important problems

such as the revolution of the planets about the sun and motion of charged

particles in an electric or magnetic field force. The theory we have

developed so far can be use very conveniently to point particles and the

dynamics of aggregate of particles and rigid bodies will be presented later

in the module.

3.9 Exercises

3.0 Show that the velocity and acceleration of a particle moving

in a circle are perpendicular if and only if the particle is moving

with a constant velocity.

x x0 at 2 , y bt 2 , z ct

(b) Find the force F and from it the torque N acting on the

particle

(c) Verify that the angular momentum theorem

dL / dt r F N is satisfied.

69

70

U ( x)

Wd 2 x 2 d 2

x 4 8d 4

values of x. Is the motion bounded or unbounded? Where

are the equilibrium values? Are they stable or unstable?

Find the turning points for E W / 8 . The value of W is a

positive constant.

kx3

F kx

a2

(a) Obtain an expression for the velocity

(b) Determine U (x) and discuss the motion,

from a height h . Show that the particle hits the ground

x3

F k x 2

a

(ii) Obtain an expression for the potential energy V (x)

assuming that V (0) 0 .

70

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

straight line is pulled with a force P against a resistance

R . Show that the distance travelled by the locomotive in

accelerating from a velocity v1 to v 2 is given by

v2

vdv

d m .

v1

PR

off and it comes to rest under the action of a resistance

R a bv .

smooth horizontal surface and that there is no air resistance

such that the block moves under a force F (v) c1v .

Write down the differential equation describing the motion

if the block has a mass m . Find an expression for the

position at any later time t .

71

72

Chapter 4

Unit 4 Simple Harmonic Motion

You should be able to cover this unit in 20 hrs. This time period does not

include the time for solving problems in the exercises. You may solve the

exercises at your own convenient pace.

OBJECTIVES

(1) To teach the learner how to treat both free and damped harmonic oscillators.

(2) To teach the learner how to obtain the frequency of vibration of disturbed systems.

(2) Write down the equation of motion for the identified system in (1) above.

(3) Solve the problem of the system whose equation has been written in (2) above.

(4) Obtain solutions of free, underdamped (weakly damped), overdamped (strongly damped) and

critically damped systems.

72

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

(5) Calculate amplitudes, frequencies, positions, velocities and accelerations of different oscillating

systems.

4.0 Introduction

All around us there are objects which vibrate or oscillate. Swings in

playgrounds, musical instruments, water waves, atoms and molecules

moving in matter are some examples of vibrations and oscillations. A

force acting on a particle displacing it from its equilibrium in the

direction opposed to its displacement will always result in to and fro

motion. If the magnitude of this force is f (x ) , where x is the

displacement then for vibratory motion to occur, we must have

ma f (x) (4.1)

where m is the mass and a is the acceleration. Since the force f (x)

always pulls the mass m back towards the position of equilibrium, it is

called a restoring force.

proportional to the displacement, so that we can write

f ( x) kx (4.2)

also called the spring constant because a vibrating body behaves as if is

connected to a spring. In view of E. (4.2), the equation of motion is

harmonic oscillator. We see that the conditions for a body to undergo

simple harmonic motion (often abbreviated SHM) are:

displacement

73

74

connected to a spring and hung vertically so that the mass is free to move

up and down when displaced, a pendulum displaced slightly from its

equilibrium position and a floating body pushed further into the liquid

and released. Simple harmonic motion is so widespread that any system

whatsoever will perform simple harmonic motion if displacement from

the equilibrium position is small enough. Such is the case when a guitar

string is plucked or when a drumhead is beaten. At microscopic level,

atoms and molecules perform simple harmonic motion when excited by

thermal energy from the environment.

We now proceed to solve Eq.(4.3) by introducing the angular frequency

through the equation

k

(4.4)

m

x 2 x (4.5)

position vector of a particle which rotates with constant angular velocity

on the circumference of a circle. If the frequency of the motion is f ,

then the particle makes f revolutions per unit time and in that time the

angle rotated is 2f . We can also say that the period of oscillation is

1 / f . In this period, the angle rotated is 2 . If the angular velocity is

, we see that time taken for one revolution is 2 / . The connection

between and f is therefore

2 1

T (4.6)

f

f (4.7)

2

74

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

function with the property that when it is differentiated twice, it remains

unchanged but acquires a multiplicative constant. Of all the known

functions, the only ones with this property are the sine, the cosine and the

exponential functions. Since sine or cosine functions can be expressed in

exponential form we choose to express the required solution in

exponential form because the ease with which exponential functions can

be manipulated in terms of differentiation. We let the solution be

x e t (4.8)

where is to be determined.

x et (4.9)

x 2 e t (4.10)

2 2 (4.12)

are both solutions of the SHM differential equation. Since the equation is

linear the general solution will be a linear combination of these two

solutions with arbitrary constant coefficients, that is

The two constants can be determined from the so-called initial conditions

x(t t0 ) x0 (4.15)

75

76

and

x (t t0 ) v0 (4.16)

second-degree differential equation demands this. The reason is that

when the differential equation was obtained by differentiating the

solution twice, two constants must have been lost and they have to be

recovered. The initial conditions evidently give us the value of the

solution and of its first time derivative at a certain instant of time. Since

there are two unknowns and two equations from the initial conditions,

these constants can be determined from the initial conditions.

form of the so-called boundary conditions

x(t t1 ) x1 (4.17)

x(t t2 ) x2 (4.18)

or in the form of

x (t t1 ) x1 v1 (4.19)

( A B) cost i( A B) sin t

(4.22)

x0 sin cost x0 cos sin t

x0 sin(t )

where

x0 sin ( A B) (4.23)

and

76

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

x0 cos i( A B) (4.24)

x x0 cos(t ) (4.25)

literature use and ). When the phase angle is zero, the general form

of x (t ) is illustrated in Fig. 4.1

x(t ) A sin t

0 Time

Period T

oscillator makes in unit time. What of ?

between the circular motion and simple harmonic motion. We suppose

that a particle moves with a constant angular velocity in the xy -plane

down the y axis, the shadow of the particle will be seen on a horizontal

screen placed below the x axis at any distance not greater than x0 . It

motion along the x axis with the origin as the equilibrium position. The

77

78

period of this motion corresponds to the time it takes the particle to make

one complete revolution. The angular frequency is just the angle through

which the particle rotates in unit time. This is clearly 2f , the

expression for (Eq. (4.6) or (4.7)).

Now that we know the displacement of simple harmonic motion, we can

proceed to calculate the velocity and acceleration of such motion. The

velocity and acceleration in simple harmonic motion given by Eq. (4.22)

x x0 sin(t ) (4.26)

are given by

dx

x x0 cos(t ) (4.27)

dt

and

d 2x

x x0 2 sin(t ) (4.28)

dt 2

The maximum value of the velocity x0 is called the velocity amplitude

2

The fact that the velocity is zero at maximum displacement in simple

harmonic motion and is a maximum at zero displacement illustrates the

important concept of an exchange between kinetic and potential energy.

In an ideal case, the total energy remains constant but this is never

realized in practice because of losses. If no energy is dissipated then all

the potential energy becomes kinetic energy and vice versa, so that the

value of (a) the total energy at any time (b) the maximum potential

energy and (c) the maximum kinetic energy will be equal; that is

78

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1 2

Etotal E mx V ( x) (4.30)

2

For a spring

F kx (4.31)

and so

1 2

V ( x) kxdx kx (4.32)

2

Hence

1 2 1 2

Etotal E mx kx (4.33)

2 2

dE d 1 1 d

1

mxx kxx mxx kxx 0

dt dt 2 2 2 dt

mxx mxx kxx kxx 0

1

(4.34)

2

mxx kxx mxx kxx 0

2

2

of motion

mx kx 0 (4.35)

1 2

PEmax kx0 (4.36)

2

79

80

1 1

KEmax mx 2 mx02 2 cos2 (t ) max

2 max 2 (4.37)

1

mx02 2

2

energy and kinetic energies are equal, showing that the energy exchange

is complete.

1 2 1 2

E mx kx

2 2

1 2 2

mx0 cos2 (t ) sin 2 (t )

2

(4.38)

1

mx 02 2

2

1

kx02

2

as we expected

Fig. 4.2 shows the distribution of energy versus displacement for simple

harmonic motion. Note that the potential energy curve

1 2 1 2 2 2

PE kx mx0 sin (t ) (4.39)

2 2

energy is stored in the oscillator both when x is positive and when it is

negative, e.g. a spring stores energy whether compressed or extended, as

does a gas in compression or rarefaction. The kinetic energy curve

1 2 2

KE mx0 cos2 (t ) (4.40)

2

with respect to the other displays the / 2 phase difference between the

displacement (related to the potential energy) and the velocity (related to

the kinetic energy).

80

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

For any value of the displacement x the sum of the ordinates of both

curves equals the total constant energy E .

of simple harmonic motion versus displacement. Inversion of one curve

with respect to the other shows a 900 phase difference. At any

displacement value the sum of the ordinates of the curves equals the total

constant energy E.

From the foregoing theory, we now take a look at the specific example of

a simple pendulum.

81

82

L cos L

h

in Fig. 4.3. The pendulum is of length L and is at an angle to the

vertical. Its vertical height from the lowest position is

h L L cos (4.41)

Therefore

1 2 1 2

Etotal E mx kx (4.43)

2 2

2

cos 1 (4.44)

2

and

sin (4.45)

x L sin L (4.46)

then

x L (4.47)

Hence

82

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

1 2 2 1

E mL mgL 2 (4.48)

2 2

position when t 0 , Use the solution

gives

A B 0 or B A (4.51)

Thus,

x(t ) A e it e it

e it e it

2iA (4.53)

2i

R sin t

where R 2iA

83

84

Whenever a slight displacement from equilibrium of a physical system

takes place, the resulting vibration is simple harmonic. We now proceed

to prove this fact.

equilibrium before it is disturbed. Let the particle be in stable

equilibrium and held by a potential V (x) and be located at a minimum of

the potential. Such an arbitrary potential is shown in Fig. 4.3 (where the

potential is denoted by U (x ) rather than V (x) ). Let a minimum of such

the minimum, the potential does not change with position and therefore

satisfies

dV

0 (4.54)

dx

dV

F ( x) (4.55)

dx

at that point.

U (x ) E

a x0 b c x

84

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

When the particle is slightly displaced, the new position of the particle is

x and the value of the force at that point can be expressed in terms of its

value at x0 by means of the Taylor expansion. We have

dF 1 d 2F

F ( x) F ( x0 ) ( x x0 ) 2 ( x x0 ) 2

dx x0 2! dx x

0

(4.56)

1 d 3F

3 ( x x0 )3

3! dx x

0

If ( x x0 ) 1 , then only the first two terms are sufficient and we have

dF

F ( x) F ( x0 ) ( x x0 ) (4.57)

dx x0

dF d 2V

2 (4.58)

dx dx

d 2V

F ( x) 2 ( x x0 ) (4.59)

dx x0

d 2V

k 2 (4.60)

dx x0

a minimum of the function is positive. The quantity gives the rate of

change of the slope at that point and we see that the slope is gradually

changing from negative to positive value at the minimum, this quantity is

necessarily positive. It is technically called the curvature of the function.

We can then write the equation for the force as

F ( x) k ( x x0 ) (4.61)

85

86

mx F ( x) k ( x x0 ) (4.62)

This is just the defining equation for simple harmonic motion as already

presented by Eq. (4.3).

displaced from its equilibrium position, it subsequently performs simple

harmonic motion with a force constant given by the second derivative of

the potential evaluated at the position of stable equilibrium. In nature,

slight displacements of bodies from equilibrium positions are numerous.

As a result simple harmonic motion occurs everywhere, but normally

with such small amplitudes that cannot be detected by the naked eye.

However, such vibrations tend to produce sound if they fall in the correct

frequency range. Sound is therefore one of the proofs of the prevalence

of simple harmonic motion.

acted upon by a force whose potential is

c1 c2

V ( x) (4.64)

x4 x2

where c1 and c2 are positive constants. Show that the period of small

oscillations about the position of stable equilibrium is

c1 m

T 2 (4.65)

c2 c2

86

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

dV 2c2 4c1

3 5 0 (4.66)

dx x x

2c1

x (4.67)

c2

compute the second derivative of the potential at each of these points.

Now

d 2V 20c1 6c2

6 4 (4.68)

dx2 x x

When

2c1

x (4.69)

c2

d 2V c23

0 (4.70)

dx2 c12

since the constants are both positive. Hence the point is a minimum.

equilibrium x x0 is given by Eq. (4.60)

d 2V

k 2 (4.71)

dx x x0

c23

k 2 (4.72)

c1

87

88

k c23 c c2

2

2 (4.73)

m mc1 c1 m

and

2 c2 c2

T 2 (4.74)

c1 m

Simple harmonic motion occurs in many mechanical systems as the

projection of rotary motion onto a line. We may understand this by

referring to Fig. 4.5. The figure shows a particle rotating in the xy plane

origin. The position vector of the particle has magnitude A but changing

indirection all the time.

Asint

0 x

Acost

The angle t is the angle which the position vector makes with the

positive x axis in the counter-clockwise direction. Hence the x and y

coordinates of the particle are

88

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

If when t t0 the position vector lies along the positive x axis, then

x A cos (t t0 ) (4.77)

y A sin (t t0 ) (4.78)

motion. Simple harmonic motion may therefore be viewed as the

projection of rotary motion on the coordinate axis

m under whose weight the mass stretches by an amount L1 .. If further

pulled down by a distance L2 and released at time t 0 , the mass

oscillates. Determine

the velocity of the mass as it passes through the equilibrium position and

Solution: Let the stiffness (spring) constant be k and let the downward

direction be taken as positive. Then by Hooke’s law we have

kL1 mg (4.79)

and find

mg

k (4.80)

L1

k g

(4.81)

m L1

89

90

dy

y A sin t B cost (4.83)

dt

y L2 , y 0, when t 0 (4.84)

Hence

L2 A (4.87)

so that

y L2 cost (4.88)

t T / 4 , where T is the period. Hence

2 1 g

y L2 sin t L2 sin T L2 L2 (4.91)

T 4 L1

therefore,

90

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

gL2

y (4.93)

L1

Theoretically, a linear or simple harmonic oscillator once set into motion

will continue oscillating forever. Such oscillations are called free

oscillations. In practice, however, in any physical system there are

dissipative or damping forces, and the oscillating system will lose energy

with time. Thus the oscillating system is damped and eventually comes

to rest. Damping is not just a nuisance but is an effect that finds

important applications in many areas of technology. For example, the

shock absorbers in cars are meant to quickly subdue any oscillations of

the springs even as they perform their function of making the ride

smooth.

air friction experience by a car is proportional to the square of the

velocity at which it is moving. We need to know the functional

dependence of velocity on any damping force acting on a physical system

if we have to treat it theoretically.

oscillator given in Eq. (4.3) must be modified to include the effect of

damping.

prototype and restrict its motion to one dimension.

As the mass moves in a fluid, air or liquid, the frictional force is the

viscous force that produces the damping. As long as the speed of the

91

92

damping force Fd may be assumed to be directly proportional to the

velocity. That is

The net force Fnet due to forces acting on the mass m as shown in Fig.

4.6 is

Using Newton’s second law and substituting Fnet mx in Eq. (4.95), we

get

harmonic oscillator of the mass spring system shown in Fig. 4.6.

shall use is as follows:

92

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

b

(4.97)

2m

and

k

02 (4.98)

m

to obtain

the form

x e t (4.100)

where is to be determined.

x et (4.101)

x 2 e t (4.102)

et 2 2 02 0 (4.103)

2

2 02 0 (4.104)

roots

1 2 02 (4.105)

and

1 2 02 (4.106)

93

94

or

2 02 t 2 02 t

A2e (4.108)

The following cases of this solution are of special interest and will be

discussed in some detail.

weakly damped imaginary roots

motion

(complex)

(oscillatory)

(not oscillatory) and are equal

(not oscillatory) roots

k b2

1

2

0

2

(4.109)

m 4m 2

k b2

1

2

0

2

m 4m 2

imaginary,

94

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

x(t ) et A1e i1t A2ei1t (4.110)

may write Eq. (4.110) as

solution

substitution in Eq. (4.112).

C

A B 2 C 2 and tan (4.113)

B

Thus we obtain

Of the three solutions given by Eqs. (4.110), (4.112) and (4.114), we shall

concentrate on Eq. (4.114). It may be pointed out that the constants A1

The solution given by Eq. (4.114) indicate that for a damped oscillator

the motion is oscillatory due to the existence of the cosine function, but

the amplitude of the oscillation decays exponentially as shown in Fig.

4.7. The natural angular frequency, 1 , or the frequency of the damped

because the oscillator never passes through the same point twice with the

same velocity; that is the motion is not periodic. But if is very small,

95

96

1

2

1

1 2

2 2 2

0 1 2

0

0

2

0 1 (4.115)

20

2

2

0 1

2

20

If 0 , then

1 0

Case (II) Critically damped, 02 2 : For this case, the two roots given

1 2 (4.116)

and the general solution given by Eq. (4.108) takes the form

solution, then

96

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

x tet (4.118)

(Eq. (4.99)), we get

2

0

2 et 0 (4.119)

combination of e t and te t ; that is

increases such that 2 02 , then the roots 1 and 2 are real. If we

represent

2

02

1

2

2 (4.121)

x(t ) et A1e 2 t A2e 2 t (4.122)

parenthesis, the terms decay exponentially, one faster than the other and

become zero when sufficient time has elapsed. This is called strong,

over-damping or heavy damping. Once displaced or released, the body or

particle merely return to the equilibrium position although it may

overshoot. Fig. 4.8 shows the behavior of underdamped, overdamped

and critically damped harmonic oscillators from their equilibrium

positions.

97

98

The total energy E (t ) of a damped harmonic system at any time t is

given by

where E (0) is the total energy at time t 0 and W f is the work done

frictional force f bx bv , we can calculate W f as follows:

1

dx

W f f dx f dt f v dt b v 2 dt (4.124)

dt 0

dE dW f

bv2 (4.125)

dt dt

98

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

into heat. Since Wf 0 , the energy at any time Et continuously

1 2 1 2

E (t ) K (t ) U (t ) mx kx (4.126)

2 2

and

x (t ) 1 Ae t sin(1t ) cos(1t ) (4.127)

1

/ 1 1, and neglecting the second term on the right in the preceding

expression for x , we can substitute for x and x in Eq. (4.126) to obtain

E (t )

1 2 2t

2

A e m12 sin 2 (1t ) k cos2 (1t ) (4.128)

1 2 2t

E (t ) kA e (4.129)

2

Eq. (4.129); that is

1 2

E0 kA (4.130)

2

Thus

E ( t ) E 0 e 2 t (4.131)

99

100

than the rate at which the

exponentially at a much faster rate e 2t

amplitude decreases or decays et .

is called the characteristic time or decay constant and may be evaluated

by substituting E (t ) E0 / e and t in Eq. (4.131):

E0

E0e 2 (4.132)

e

or

2 1 (4.133)

That is,

1 2m m

(4.134)

2 2b b

We shall end our study of damped harmonic systems here. Another very

important and interesting system is forced harmonic oscillator (or driven

harmonic oscillator). Because of lack of time, you are asked to go and

read on this topic.

4.8 Summary

The harmonic oscillator in its various forms is one of the most important

problems in Physics. In this unit, the learner has been introduced to the

treatment of this problem for the case of free motion and three degrees of

damping. These topics should serve as a springboard for further study of

the problem in harmonic motion. Further problems include the driven

oscillator, the anharmonic oscillator and the oscillator damped by a force

with non-linear dependence of velocity.

100

CLASSICAL MECHANICS

4.8 Exercises

4.0 A block of mass m lying on a horizontal frictionless

surface is attached to two identical springs of spring

constant k as shown below.

motion of the mass at any time t .

position of the mass at any time t .

(iii) Show that your solution found in (ii) above can also be

written as

B sin 0 t C sin 0 t

your solution in (ii) and the new constant B and C in (iii)

above.

(v) Write down the expression of the natural frequency in terms

of k and the mass m .

(vi) Will the new natural frequency be higher or lower if one of

the springs is removed?

(vii) Explain two methods which you may use to damp the mo-

tion of the mass

101

102

4.1 The springs of a car of mass 1,200 kg give the car a vertical

oscillatory period of 0.5 s when the car is empty. How far does the car

sink when the driver and three passengers, each of mass 75 kg, get in

the car?

potential energy

kx

V ( x)

x a2

2

oscillations about the position of stable equilibrium.

of an attractive inverse-square central force

F (r )

r2

then the periodic time of the perturbations is equal to the period

of revolution in the circular orbit.

subsequently move in a parabolic orbit.

102

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