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Homework Help: Maximum Compression of buffers for a Train

  1. Nov 11, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I need to work out the maximum compression of buffers for a train with 1.2kg mass, travelling at 0.45m/s and the spring constant, k, is 4.8x10^3 Nm^-1

    2. Relevant equations
    I tried using 1/2kx^2 but I don't know if I am doing it right

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I couldn't attempt the question because I don't know how the velocity is put into the equation, can anyone help?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2008 #2
    use conservation of energy

    you'll need the v to plug it in the formula for kinetic energy

  4. Nov 11, 2008 #3
    But that's what I don't understand about the question, I worked out the kinetic energy, but where is it placed in the equation which I attempted with?
  5. Nov 11, 2008 #4
    EK + EP = E_total

    The trick is to apply the above equation onto two different situations :

    EK_initial + EP_initial = EK_final + EP_final

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