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Important Charged Particle Collisions

  1. Nov 22, 2004 #1
    Important!! Charged Particle Collisions

    If two charged particles of equal mass and equal charge start from rest, repel, and travel in opposite directions, in what way is this an accelerating (non-inertial frame of reference)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2004 #2


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    Each particle is subject to the Coulombic repulsive force, so each particle is accelerating.

    [tex] F = k \frac{q_1\,q_2}{r^2}[/tex], were r is the distance between both particles, which of course is changing with time.

    Also, as the particles separate, each experiences a time varying EM field from the other particle.
  4. Nov 22, 2004 #3
    So one particle is the other particle's accelerating frame of reference?
  5. Nov 22, 2004 #4


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    The conditions of the problem state nothing about the reference frame. Don't confuse "process" with "reference frame." It's perfectly proper to talk about the acceleration of objects in an inertial frame of reference and, normally, the problem you stated would best be addressed using an inertial frame of reference.
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