1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Ball thrown to cliff (projectile problem)

  1. Sep 18, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A man standing 31 m from the base of a vertical cliff throws a ball with a speed of 38 m/s aimed directly at a point 5 m above the base of the cliff.

    Here is a link to the diagram....

    https://wug-s.physics.uiuc.edu/cgi/courses/shell/common/showme.pl?cc/DuPage/phys2111/fall/homework/Ch-04-2D-Motion/ball_to_cliff/8.gif [Broken]

    How long does it take the ball to reach the cliff?

    2. Relevant equations

    First off i tried to find the time to get to the max height:
    v = v(initial)+at
    0=38+(-9.8)t t=3.87755

    Then I found the max height:
    x(final) = x(initial) + v(initial)t + 0.5at^2
    x(final) = 0 + 38(3.877) + 0.5(-9.8)(3.877^2) x(final) = 73.67

    This really does not look right to me though. If it is then would I have to find the time it drops from the max height to 5m? Is there anyway of finding the y component?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You need to break the initial velocity into horizontal and vertical components before attempting a solution.
  4. Sep 18, 2009 #3
    I was thinking that. But my next question would be how? The angle is not given. Would I use the distance of 31m and the height of 5m to find it?
  5. Sep 18, 2009 #4
    I took the arctan of (5/31) and got 9.15 degrees. Im thinking that is the and at which the ball was thrown. Does that sound right? I think after I figure this part out I would be able to solve the problem.

  6. Sep 18, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Yes arctan(5/31) will give you the angle of projection. Note that you don't really need to find the actual angle. All you need is the sine = opp/hyp and the cosine = adj/hyp. Use the Pythagorean Theorem to find hyp.
  7. Sep 21, 2009 #6
    Ok I figured out the time, which turned out to be 0.82s. And it was simply the velocity over the distance.

    i figured wow fast is the ball moving when it reaches the cliff by using the pythagorean theorem, and it turned out to be 37.3m/s.

    Here is where I am having trouble...

    At what time does the ball reach its largest vertical height?

    I am sure that I have to find the initial vertical velocity:

    31 = 38cos(x)(0.82) where x is the angle x = 5.8 degrees

    vy0 = 38sin(x) vy0 calculated to be 3.84

    vf = v0 + at
    0 = 3.84 + (-9.8)t = 0.39s

    time to max height i figured to be 0.39s

    This is the incorrect answer, what did I do wrong? Any suggestions?

  8. Sep 22, 2009 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I don't know how you calculated the angle that you call x, but it is incorrect. If I were doing this problem, I would not bother with the angle. For example, if I needed the sine of the angle, I would use


    Less calculation, less likelihood for error, you know what I mean?
  9. Sep 22, 2009 #8
    That is understood. Perhaps I am over complicating this one. It seemed so easy to find the height but I end up with the wrong answer. Thanks for the input!
  10. Sep 22, 2009 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Your method for finding the height by first finding the time it takes to reach that height is correct and should work. However, you can do it in one step if you use the kinematic equation that does not involve time,


    You know or can calculate everything except for the unknown vertical displacement.
  11. Sep 22, 2009 #10
    Thanks for the help! It worked and I managed to find everything else that I was asked to find.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Ball thrown to cliff (projectile problem)
  1. Ball Thrown From Cliff (Replies: 1)

  2. Ball thrown from cliff (Replies: 1)

  3. Ball thrown to a cliff (Replies: 3)