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Homework Help: Circular Motion and Radius of Curvature

  1. Oct 12, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Oh boy... Here we go...

    At what minimum speed must a roller coaster be traveling when upside down at the top of a circle so that the passengers will not fall out? Assume a radius of curvature of 7.4 m.

    I honestly have nothing. To begin with, I drew a free-body diagram but got nowhere considering the teacher never explained 'radius of curvature'. I've tried searching on the Internet but all I get are a bunch of formulas in geodesy and aren't applicable to the problem. It's not in the book either (Giancoli PHYSICS Updated Edition 2009).

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Tried setting up a free-body diagram and got nowhere.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    At the top of the circular motion, gravity must provide no more than the centripetal force needed to hold the car in circular motion. If Fg exceeds Fc, the car will fall off the track. So start with Fc = Fg, fill in the detailed formulas and solve for v.
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