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Calculating Force (magnitude and direction) on a proton

  1. Mar 31, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Diagram shows the separations of a proton, electron, and α particle (charge +2e). What is the force (magnitude and direction) on the proton?


    2. Relevant equations
    Addition of vectors, Coulomb's law


    3. The attempt at a solution

    I keep getting 82 degrees but the answer is 68 degrees below the x axis
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2012 #2

    gneill

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    Staff: Mentor

    It would help if you labelled each of the particles on the diagram, but I suppose we can work out what each of them must be from your desired result :smile:

    If you show your work, perhaps we can see where the its going wrong.
     
  4. Mar 31, 2012 #3
    Sorry about that! Was basing it off memory lol.

    okay so i found the force between the charge of positive 2 and the proton to be 2.1e-8 N, and i found the other force to be 3.5e-8 N. then i found the x and y components of the forces, and that was 3.4e-8 and 7e-9, respectively. i then added this to the x component of the first force (since there was so y) and found the angle that they create to be 82 degrees, which is incorrect
     
  5. Mar 31, 2012 #4

    gneill

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    Staff: Mentor

    How did you calculate the x and y components of the second force? It looks like you've interchanged them. Take a look at your diagram; you should be able to estimate the relative sizes of the x and y components of a given force.
     
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