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Centripetal acceleration and angles

  1. May 3, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A block is hung by a string from the inside roof of a van. When the van goes straight ahead at a speed of 34 m/s, the block hangs vertically down. But when the van maintains this same speed around an unbanked curve (radius = 120 m), the block swings toward the outside of the curve. Then the string makes an angle theta with the vertical. Find theta.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    All I could do was get the centripetal force, 34^2/120=9.63333N.

    I have no idea where to go from here, and there are no similar problems I can find.

    Thanks a million for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2007 #2


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    Homework Helper

    The formula that you give is for the acceleration. So you calculated the centripetal acceleration.

    The block will experience two forces - its weight, W, and the tension T in the string. The vertical component of the tension balances the weight of the block while the horizontal component supplies the necessary centripetal force.
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