Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 1
Fundamental Physics: Lecture 1
Mechanics for Physicists and Engineers
Agenda for Today
Advice
Scope of this course
Measurement and Units
Fundamental units
Systems of units
Converting between systems of units
Dimensional Analysis
1D Kinematics (review)
Average & instantaneous velocity and acceleration
Motion with constant acceleration
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 2
Scope of Lecture 1
Classical Mechanics:
Mechanics: How and why things work
Classical:
Not too fast (v << c)
Not too small (d >> atom)
Most everyday situations can be described in these terms.
Path of baseball
Orbit of planets
etc...
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 3
How we measure things!
All things in classical mechanics can be expressed in terms
of the fundamental units:
Length L
Mass M
Time T
For example:
Speed has units of L / T (i.e. miles per hour).
Force has units of ML
/ T
2
etc... (as you will learn).
Units
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 4
Length:
Distance Length (m)
Radius of visible universe 1 x 10
26
To Andromeda Galaxy 2 x 10
22
To nearest star 4 x 10
16
Earth to Sun 1.5 x 10
11
Radius of Earth 6.4 x 10
6
Sears Tower 4.5 x 10
2
Football field 1.0 x 10
2
Tall person 2 x 10
0
Thickness of paper 1 x 10
4
Wavelength of blue light 4 x 10
7
Diameter of hydrogen atom 1 x 10
10
Diameter of proton 1 x 10
15
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 5
Time:
Interval Time (s)
Age of universe 5 x 10
17
Age of Grand Canyon 3 x 10
14
32 years 1 x 10
9
One year 3.2 x 10
7
One hour 3.6 x 10
3
Light travel from Earth to Moon 1.3 x 10
0
One cycle of guitar A string 2 x 10
3
One cycle of FM radio wave 6 x 10
8
Lifetime of neutral pi meson 1 x 10
16
Lifetime of top quark 4 x 10
25
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 6
Mass:
Object Mass (kg)
Milky Way Galaxy 4 x 10
41
Sun 2 x 10
30
Earth 6 x 10
24
Boeing 747 4 x 10
5
Car 1 x 10
3
Student 7 x 10
1
Dust particle 1 x 10
9
Top quark 3 x 10
25
Proton 2 x 10
27
Electron 9 x 10
31
Neutrino 1 x 10
38
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 7
Units...
SI (Systme International) Units:
mks: L = meters (m), M = kilograms (kg), T = seconds (s)
cgs: L = centimeters (cm), M = grams (gm), T = seconds (s)
British Units:
Inches, feet, miles, pounds, slugs...
We will use mostly SI units, but you may run across some
problems using British units. You should know how to convert
back & forth.
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 8
Converting between different systems of units
Useful Conversion factors:
1 inch = 2.54 cm
1 m = 3.28 ft
1 mile = 5280 ft
1 mile = 1.61 km
Example: convert miles per hour to meters per second:
s
m
447 0
s
hr
3600
1
ft
m
28 3
1
mi
ft
5280
hr
mi
1
hr
mi
1 .
.
= =
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 9
This is a very important tool to check your work
Its also very easy!
Example:
Doing a problem you get the answer distance
d = vt
2
(velocity x time
2
)
Units on left side = L
Units on right side = L / T x T
2
= L x T
Left units and right units dont match, so answer must be
wrong!!
Dimensional Analysis
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 10
Lecture 1, Act 1
Dimensional Analysis
The period P of a swinging pendulum depends only on
the length of the pendulum d and the acceleration of
gravity g.
Which of the following formulas for P could be
correct ?
P
d
g
= 2t P
d
g
= 2t
(a) (b) (c)
Given: d has units of length (L) and g has units of (L / T
2
).
P = 2t (dg)
2
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 11
Lecture 1, Act 1
Solution
Realize that the left hand side P has units of time (T )
Try the first equation
( )
P dg = 2
2
t (a) (b) (c)
(a)
L
L
T
L
T
T

\

.

= =
2
2
4
4
Not Right !!
P
d
g
= 2t P
d
g
= 2t
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 12
L
L
T
T T
2
2
= =
( )
P dg = 2
2
t (a) (b) (c)
(b)
Not Right !!
Try the second equation
Lecture 1, Act 1
Solution
P
d
g
= 2t P
d
g
= 2t
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 13
T T
T
L
L
2
2
= =
( )
P dg = 2
2
t (a) (b) (c)
(c)
This has the correct units!!
This must be the answer!!
Try the third equation
Lecture 1, Act 1
Solution
P
d
g
= 2t P
d
g
= 2t
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 14
Motion in 1 dimension
In 1D, we usually write position as x(t
1
).
Since its in 1D, all we need to indicate direction is + or .
Displacement in a time At = t
2
 t
1
is
Ax = x(t
2
)  x(t
1
) = x
2
 x
1
t
x
t
1
t
2
A x
A t
x
1
x
2
some particles trajectory
in 1D
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 15
1D kinematics
t
x
t t
) t ( x ) t ( x
v
1 2
1 2
av
A
A
=
t
x
t
1
t
2
A x
x
1
x
2
trajectory
Velocity v is the rate of change of position
Average velocity v
av
in the time A t = t
2
 t
1
is:
A t
V
av
= slope of line connecting x
1
and x
2
.
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 16
Consider limit t
1
t
2
Instantaneous velocity v is defined as:
1D kinematics...
dt
) t ( dx
) t ( v =
t
x
t
1
t
2
A x
x
1
x
2
A t
so v(t
2
) = slope of line tangent to path at t
2
.
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 17
1D kinematics...
t
v
t t
) t ( v ) t ( v
a
1 2
1 2
av
A
A
=
Acceleration a is the rate of change of velocity
Average acceleration a
av
in the time At = t
2
 t
1
is:
And instantaneous acceleration a is defined as:
2
2
dt
) t ( x d
dt
) t ( dv
) t ( a = =
dt
) t ( dx
) t ( v = using
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 18
Recap
If the position x is known as a function of time, then we can
find both velocity v and acceleration a as a function of time!
a
dv
dt
d x
dt
= =
2
2
v
dx
dt
=
x x t = ( )
x
a
v
t
t
t
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 19
More 1D kinematics
We saw that v = dx / dt
In calculus language we would write dx = v dt, which we
can integrate to obtain:
}
=
2
1
t
t
1 2
dt t v t x t x ) ( ) ( ) (
Graphically, this is adding up lots of small rectangles:
v(t)
t
+ +...+
= displacement
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 20
Highschool calculus:
Also recall that
Since a is constant, we can integrate this using the above
rule to find:
Similarly, since we can integrate again to get:
1D Motion with constant acceleration
const t
1 n
1
dt t
1 n n
+
+
=
+
}
a
dv
dt
=
v
dx
dt
=
} }
+ = = =
0
v at dt a dt a v
0 0
2
0
x t v at
2
1
dt ) v at ( dt v x + +
} }
= + = =
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 21
Recap
So for constant acceleration we find:
at v v
0
+ =
2
0 0
at
2
1
t v x x + + =
a const =
x
a
v
t
t
t
Plane
w/ lights
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 22
Lecture 1, Act 2
Motion in One Dimension
When throwing a ball straight up, which of the following is
true about its velocity v and its acceleration a at the
highest point in its path?
(a) Both v = 0 and a = 0.
(b) v = 0, but a = 0.
(c) v = 0, but a = 0.
y
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 23
Lecture 1, Act 2
Solution
x
a
v
t
t
t
Going up the ball has positive velocity, while coming down
it has negative velocity. At the top the velocity is
momentarily zero.
Since the velocity is
continually changing there must
be some acceleration.
In fact the acceleration is caused
by gravity (g = 9.81 m/s
2
).
(more on gravity in a few lectures)
The answer is (c) v = 0, but a = 0.
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 24
Derivation:
Plugging in for t:
at v v
0
+ =
2
0 0
at
2
1
t v x x + + =
Solving for t:
a
v v
t
0
=
2
0 0
0 0
a
v v
a
2
1
a
v v
v x x

.

\

+

.

\

+ =
) x x ( a 2 v v
0
2
0
2
=
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 25
Average Velocity
Remember that at v v
0
+ =
v
t
t
v
v
av
v
0
( ) v v
2
1
v
0 av
+ =
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 26
Recap:
For constant acceleration:
at v v
0
+ =
2
0 0
at
2
1
t v x x + + =
a const =
From which we know:
v) (v
2
1
v
) x 2a(x v v
0 av
0
2
0
2
+ =
=
Washers
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 27
Problem 1
A car is traveling with an initial velocity v
0
. At t = 0, the
driver puts on the brakes, which slows the car at a rate of
a
b
x = 0, t = 0
a
b
v
o
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 28
Problem 1...
A car is traveling with an initial velocity v
0
. At t = 0, the
driver puts on the brakes, which slows the car at a rate of
a
b
. At what time t
f
does the car stop, and how much farther
x
f
does it travel?
x = x
f
, t = t
f
v = 0
x = 0, t = 0
a
b
v
0
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 29
Problem 1...
Above, we derived: v = v
0
+ at
Realize that a = a
b
Also realizing that v = 0 at t = t
f
:
find 0 = v
0
 a
b
t
f
or
t
f
= v
0
/a
b
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 30
Problem 1...
To find stopping distance we use:
In this case v = v
f
= 0, x
0
= 0 and x = x
f
f b
2
0
x ) a ( 2 v =
b
2
0
f
a 2
v
x =
) x 2a(x v v
0
2
0
2
=
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 31
Problem 1...
So we found that
Suppose that v
o
= 65 mi/hr = 29 m/s
Suppose also that a
b
= g = 9.81 m/s
2
Find that t
f
= 3 s and x
f
= 43 m
b
2
0
f
b
0
f
a
v
2
1
x ,
a
v
t = =
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 32
Tips:
Read !
Before you start work on a problem, read the problem
statement thoroughly. Make sure you understand what
information is given, what is asked for, and the meaning
of all the terms used in stating the problem.
Watch your units !
Always check the units of your answer, and carry the
units along with your numbers during the calculation.
Understand the limits !
Many equations we use are special cases of more
general laws. Understanding how they are derived will
help you recognize their limitations (for example,
constant acceleration).
Physics 111: Lecture 1, Pg 33
Recap of todays lecture
Scope of this course
Measurement and Units (Chapter 1)
Systems of units (Text: 11)
Converting between systems of units (Text: 12)
Dimensional Analysis (Text: 13)
1D Kinematics (Chapter 2)
Average & instantaneous velocity
and acceleration (Text: 21, 22)
Motion with constant acceleration (Text: 23)
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