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Acceleration in 1 dimension (Conceptual)

  1. Sep 23, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Two cars C and D travel in the same direction on a long, straight section of a highway. During a particular time interval [tex]\Delta[/tex]t0, car D is ahead of car C and speeding up while car C is slowing down.

    During the interval [tex]\Delta[/tex]t0, it is observed that C gains on car D (i.e.e the distance between the cars decreases. Explain how this is possible.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I'm not sure, but what I thought was that if car C gains distance and slowing down, the change in its velocity (acceleration) over the very beginning of this time interval is lower than cars D acceleration in that beginning of the time interval. That way car C maintains the relatively same velocity for that small time period and can "gain". But then if car D is accelerating at a greater rate, then how could car C gain on car D? Can we assume the initial and final velocities differ for each car? I'm very confused.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 24, 2008 #2


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    The answer is very simple. If car D is ahead and speeding up, and car C is slowing down but the gap decreases then how must the velocities of the two compare? That is, which has the greater velocity?
  4. Sep 24, 2008 #3
    Cart C. Wow that was very simple... thanks
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