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Homework Help: Acceleration and curvature

  1. Feb 22, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Show that this statement is false: when a moving particle along a curve reaches its max. speed at t=3, its acceleration is 0.

    2. Relevant equations

    a = d^2 R / dt^2 = d|v|/dt * T + k |v|^2 N

    where k = |dT/ds|, T = v/|v|, N = 1/k dT/ds

    3. The attempt at a solution

    |v| is max at t = 3 so it is nonzero so the second term in acceleration should be nonzero and hence a nonzero total acceleration will result. I think the first term could, however, be 0 since the derivative of the speed will be 0 at this point. Is this correct? Is there a proper way to show this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Sure. N could be a nonzero vector. So even if the tangential acceleration is zero it could have a normal component. The problem only asks you to show that it's false. All you need is a counterexample. Almost anything would work. Like circular motion at a nonuniform velocity.
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