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Homework Help: Help on an acceleration problem (Deceleration?)?

  1. Jun 26, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A speed skater moving across frictionless ice at 8.7 m/s hits a 5.6 m -wide patch of rough ice. She slows steadily, then continues on at 6.0 m/s.

    What is her acceleration on the rough ice?

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    So I've attempted to determine the amount of time it takes her to get across the ice by dividing 5.6 m/s to 8.7 m/s getting .64 m/s to cross the rough patch. So the equation I tried was this: (6.0-8.7)/.64 = -7.59 which isn't correct. I'm in need of some help...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2012 #2
    But the 8.7 m/s is the speed she moved before she hit the 5.6m patch. So the time taken to cross the patch is not 5.6/8.7.
  4. Jun 26, 2012 #3
    My thought was that since she was moving 8.7 m/s that it would take her less than a second to move across a distance less than 8.7 meters.
  5. Jun 26, 2012 #4


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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    That's not necessarily true. It depends on how fast she slows down.

    And like klondike mentioned, the t = x/v formula is only valid if she is traveling with a constant velocity. But that's not the case when she is on the rough patch of ice.

    When she's on the rough patch of ice, she is traveling with uniform acceleration.

    There is another kinematics equation/formula that you can use to solve this directly (or combine two of the other ones solve it that way, but that makes the problem more complicated).

    There are some kinematics equations for uniform acceleration found here:

    Physics is a pretty neat area of study, because there are relatively few things that require memorization. That said, this set of kinematics equations for uniform acceleration are one of the exceptions that I strongly recommend that you memorize. You don't have to memorize much in physics, but do memorize these. :wink: (There are 4 kinematics equations for uniform acceleration that should be memorized. Not all of the equations in the link I provided relate to uniform acceleration kinematics.)
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
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