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Homework Help: Mechanics - Circular Motion

  1. Dec 12, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    A smooth circular wire of radius a is fixed with its plane vertical. A small ring
    threaded on the wire is projected with speed u from the lowest point of the
    circle. Taking gravitational acceleration to be the constant g, calculate the
    potential energy and the kinetic energy of the ring. Assuming conservation
    of energy, show that the ring will describe complete revolutions if:

    u^2 > 4ga

    2. Relevant equations

    I know all relevant circular motion and SHM equations but don't know where to begin.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I genuinely have no idea how to approach this problem. Any help will be much appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2013 #2
    Write the potential and kinetic energies of the ring, at the bottom of the wire and top of the wire.
    And use conservation of energy.
  4. Dec 12, 2013 #3
    Hi nasu thanks for the speedy reply.

    I'm having trouble visualizing the problem. Would the potential energy be equal to mgh + mg(0) as at the bottom of the wire h=0? And for kinetic energy do I use 0.5(m)(v^2)?
  5. Dec 12, 2013 #4
    You don't add the potential energies.
    The potential energy at the bottom may be zero, yes, if we measure it from that level.
    At the PE at the top point will be mgh, where h is the height of the top pf the circle.

    And yes, this is the formula for KE.
  6. Dec 12, 2013 #5
    Ok and for the second part of the question where I'm asked to show that the ring will describe complete revolutions. What would show it describes complete revolutions?

    Thanks again for the help.
  7. Dec 12, 2013 #6
    Conservation of energy. I told you already.
    But first you need the correct expressions for PE and KE energy.
  8. Dec 12, 2013 #7
    Thanks for your patience, I'm new to these type of problems and I'm finding them tricky to understand.

    So conservation of energy is PE=KE


    KE= 0.5(m)(v^2)


    Putting in the form the question requires and I get:


    which isn't the required answer. Clearly the 'h' isn't part of the answer so how to I go about getting rid of it?
  9. Dec 12, 2013 #8
    What is h in terms of a, the radius of the circle?
  10. Dec 13, 2013 #9
    I completely forgot 'a' was the radius, I must have been half asleep last night doing this. I was thinking it was acceleration. Thanks a million, I have the solution now.
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