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Boundry conditions on a string with a hoop at one end

  1. Feb 19, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    problem 4.4

    The question:
    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/...ions-and-waves-fall-2004/assignments/ps4a.pdf

    The solution:
    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/...ons-and-waves-fall-2004/assignments/sol4a.pdf




    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
    For part a I am having trouble understanding why Tsinθ becomes -T∂y/∂x

    If we were dealing with small angles would it not be the case that

    sinθ ≈θ


    and so we would have
    Tsinθ≈Tθ
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2013 #2
    [itex] \frac{\partial y}{\partial x} [/itex] is essentially the ratio of vertical tension to horizontal tension, much like [itex] tan(\theta) [/itex]. It's a little confusing because obviously you're thinking about the hoop, which only moves vertically, but in this context you can think of it as representing the direction the hoop would go if it suddenly flew off of the rod, at which point the only force acting on the hoop would be the tension at the contact point (ignoring gravity), thus it would fly in that direction. Another way to think of it is simply as the instantaneous "slope" of the string.

    The small angle approximation comes in because for small angles [itex] tan(\theta) \simeq sin(\theta) [/itex]. (or equivalently, [itex] T_{x} \simeq T_{tot} [/itex].)

    Thus we can put it all together: [itex] sin(\theta) \simeq tan(\theta) = \frac{\partial y}{\partial x}[/itex]
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  4. Feb 19, 2013 #3
    Thank you very much bossman27!
     
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