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Determine a rocket's altitude; how long rocket is in air

  1. Jan 28, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A 200 kg weather rocket is loaded with 100 kg of fuel and fired straight up. It accelerates upward at 33 m/s^2 for 34 s, then runs out of fuel. Ignroe any air resistance effects.
    A) what is the rocket's maximum altitude?
    B) how long is the rocket in the air?


    2. Relevant equations
    i tried using vf=vi + at for part a and then i think i use the equation d=vi*t+1/2*a*t^2 to find the altitude.

    3. The attempt at a solution
    for vf, i got 1122 m/s, but i'm not sure if this is right or if i'm using the right equations. if that is correct, i plug it into the 2nd equation to get my second answer, right?

    if anyone can help, i would really appreciate it :)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2009 #2

    LowlyPion

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    Welcome to PF.

    That's correct.

    V = a*t = 33*34 = 1122

    Now how high is it at the point of main engine shutoff?

    After that it's simply a matter of figuring how much longer it goes up against gravity. And then figuring that distance after shutoff and adding the 2 heights together.
     
  4. Jan 28, 2009 #3

    Nabeshin

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    The equations you're using are correct. However, the method of solution you suggest is to describe a situation where the rocket leaves the ground with an initial velocity equal to that after a 34 second burn, and then is under solely the influence of gravity. You have to remember that during the burn time, the rocket is also moving upwards!

    P.S: This problem is worded rather strangely. The mention of fuel makes me think acceleration shouldn't be constant (Rather, force would be constant). Additionally, I'm not sure if you're supposed to consider that g is not constant (as it may well make a significant difference for a problem such as this).
     
  5. Jan 28, 2009 #4
    then i use d=vi*t+1/2at^2 right? when i used that equation, i got 38709 m as my answer. is that correct or do i need to rethink what equation i need to use?
     
  6. Jan 28, 2009 #5

    LowlyPion

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    I would use the V2 = 2*a*x since initial velocity was at rest.
     
  7. Jan 28, 2009 #6
    okay. i used that equation
    v^2=2*a*t
    (1122)^2=2(33)x
    x=19074 km
    and i got that as my answer. that's correct, right?
     
  8. Jan 28, 2009 #7

    LowlyPion

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    Yes. they have apparently added more info than needed. But the 33 m/s2 apparently governs the issues of weight depletion. The final answer isn't so large as to get into gravitational potentials I should think.

    I think the simple path is indicated from the statement of the problem.
     
  9. Jan 28, 2009 #8

    LowlyPion

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    That's your intermediate answer. (But in m, not km)

    Because now you have yourself a rocket going 1122 m/s at a height of 19km.

    So now figure the additional height and add the 2 together.
     
  10. Jan 28, 2009 #9
    additional height? im kind of confused
     
  11. Jan 28, 2009 #10

    LowlyPion

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    By the statement of the problem it goes up 19074 m and it is still going at 1122 m/s. Don't you think it's going to be going higher?
     
  12. Jan 28, 2009 #11
    so i add those two together right? its asking for the answer in km. so if i add the two distances together and multiply by 1000, i'll get the right answer? (i already have an answer but i'm not sure if it's right. i got 20196000 km)
     
  13. Jan 28, 2009 #12

    LowlyPion

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    No that is incorrect. You apparently added the velocity to the height? They aren't the same thing. Going at that velocity how much more will it go up against gravity?

    Keep everything in meters until the end - and then divide by 1000 m to get an answer in km.
     
  14. Jan 28, 2009 #13
    i added 1122 m/s and 19074 together then multiplied by 1000 to get km...wait, i did that wrong didn't i? do i have to use another equation to figure out the other height..?
     
  15. Jan 28, 2009 #14

    LowlyPion

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    Velocity and height. They aren't the same thing.

    Going at that velocity how much more will it go up against gravity?
     
  16. Jan 28, 2009 #15

    LowlyPion

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    This time try the same equation

    V2 = 2*a*x

    Only this time a is gravity slowing you to 0, so a = 9.8
     
  17. Jan 28, 2009 #16
    i don't know :(

    (thanks for all your help btw)
     
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