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Homework Help: Gravitational field and graavitational potential

  1. Aug 4, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I have problem with understanding gravitational field strength and potential.
    How different is the gravitational field strrength(g) to gravitational potential?
    And what exactly is gravitational potential?

    I have one question which would help to bring across the problem.

    Bodies P of 800 Kg and Q of 600 Kg are separated by 0.35 m as shown in the diagram below.

    P (800 Kg) ========================================= Q (600 Kg)
    (a) Determine the magnitude of the gravitational field strength due to both bodies at a point X, which is 0.20 m from P and 0.15 m from Q.

    (b) Determine the gravitational potential at X due to two bodies.

    2. Relevant equations

    Gravitational potential = GM(Mass)/r
    Gravitational field strength = GM(Mass)/r2

    3. The attempt at a solution
    (a) Using the formulae I found the gravitational field strength at point X due to P = 1.334*10^ -6.
    Gravitational field strength at X due to Q is = 1.779 * 10 ^ - 6

    So do I add the two using vector addition?

    b) Gravitational potential at X due to P = -2.668 * 10 ^ -7
    Gravitational potential at X due to Q at X due to Q = -2.668 * 10 ^ -7

    So how do I go about solving this now?

    Hmm.Thanks for any help given. =)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2007 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sure. One points to the left, the other to the right.

    Potential is a scalar--just add the contributions.
  4. Aug 4, 2007 #3
    Thanks . =)
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