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Finding Acceleration

  1. Sep 16, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A glaucous-winged gull, ascending straight upward at 5.10 m/s drops a shell when it is 11.5m above the ground. What is the magnitude of the shell's acceleration just after it is released?

    2. Relevant equations
    The only equation that I can think of would be v^2= v(i) + 2a (x-x(0)) because I have no time value

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Using this equation I got an answer of 1.13 m/s^2, but on my hw, it claims it's incorrect. So help please!!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2008 #2
    This sounds like one of those questions where the book is trying to trick you into thinking the problem needs more work than is necessary.

    Before the bird lets go of the shell it has zero acceleration since it is moving up at a constant speed with the bird. When the bird lets go of the shell it enters free fall. That should give you your answer.
     
  4. Sep 16, 2008 #3
    Thanks, you were right. But question, how am I supposed to find the maximum height? Apparently it's not 11.5m, so how would I start approaching the problem?
     
  5. Sep 17, 2008 #4
    Use the constant acceleration formulas. In fact there is one formula that relates all the variables you have to part of the answer you are looking for; it doesn't involve time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
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