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Components of Acceleration

  1. Feb 24, 2017 #1
    1. For the following, the x-axis is not allowed to be set along the ramp. If a mass, starting from rest, slides along a linear, frictionless incline of length D and then falls a distance h to the ground, will it have an x-component of acceleration?

    2. Relevant kinematics formulas?

    3. I wasn't certain. It does travel a distance of Dcosθ in the horizontal direction. I initially figured that, because it starts at rest and travels this horizontal distance, there must be some component of acceleration in the x-direction, as well as in the y-direction, but, now, I am uncertain. A similar question with the coordinate axis set similarly also confused me.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2017 #2

    BvU

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    The way I read the exercise is that you can choose the x-axis in any direction, except along the ramp. Thing to do is make a drawing, choose an x-axis direction and see if the actual acceleration (which way is that pointing ?) has a component along such an x-axis.
     
  4. Feb 24, 2017 #3
    Is the question asking if it will have an x-component of acceleration after it hits the ground, during the fall to the ground, or at any time during the whole process? Based on the wording, I would interpret it to be asking if it has an x component of acceleration after it hits the ground. But I'm not sure if that's what they meant. But in order to have an x-component of acceleration, there needs to be a net force acting in the x direction. And the result of that will be a change in the x component of velocity.
     
  5. Feb 24, 2017 #4

    BvU

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    Perhaps I'm being a bit too suspicious (a lot of experience :smile: ?). If the exercise composer meant well, he or she may have thought of only two (the most frequently used) choices of coordinate systems: horizontal or along the incline.
    Especially if you (and teacher?) are fairly new to the subject: a reasonable way to read the exercise is:
     
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