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Function describing Potential Energy

  1. Jul 21, 2014 #1
    Hi, can someone please help me on this problem. I'm not sure what to do with the equation given. I tried taking the derivative, partial, and anti and nothing seems to be working. Can someone please give me a hint on how to start this problem.

    Thanks in advance.

    Suppose the following function describes the potential energy of a point mass (m=3 kg) at various locations in the xy plane:

    U(x,y)=x2 - y2 + 32
    (Units omitted; you may assume [x], [y] = m and = J.)

    a.) Find a general function vector F(x,y) and then use it to find the force on the object at the following (x,y) coordinates:

    vector F(+6 m,+1 m) = ___N i hat + ___N j hat

    vector F(+6 m,-1 m) = ___N i hat + ___N j hat

    vector F(-6 m,+1 m) = ___N i hat + ___N j hat

    vector F(-6 m,-1 m) = ___N i hat + ___N j hat
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Use the equation ##F=-\nabla U##. Maybe show us your work so we can see what's going wrong?
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