1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Motion that changes from constant a to constant v

  1. Feb 25, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    As soon as a traffic light turns green, a car speeds up from rest to 50 mi/h with constant acceleration 9.00mi/h*s. In the adjoining bike lane, a cyclist sppeds up from rest to 20 mi/h with constant acceleration 13mi/h*s. Each vechicle maintains constant velocity after reaching its cruising speed. (a) for what time interval is the bicucle ahead of the car? (b) by what maximum distance does the bike lead the car?

    2. Relevant equations
    X(final)=X(initial) + Vx(t)

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Im not really sure how to do this problem because the objects go from constant acceleration to constant velocity. Here is my guess.
    for the bike it is constant a model until Vx is 20mi/h so when t=V(final)/a the bike changes from constant a model to the constant velocity model. So I plugged t into the constant velocity model for the bike getting X(final)=X(initial)+V(V/a). Then since I want to find when car passes bike i set equation 3 equal to the velocity bike model. x(initialcar)+V(initialcar)t+1/2a(car)t^2 = X(initialbike)+V(bike)(V(bike)/a(bike)). Then if i solve for t i should get the time interval for the bike being ahead of the car but I'm not 100%. To find X initial of bike I took equation 3 for t=v(final)/a. Numbers and conversions aren't important to me as learning how to do these types of problems where the object changes from constant A to V or other way around.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    You basically have three regimes.

    Both accelerating.
    One accelerating. One at max.
    Both at max.

    As you have apparently figured you determine the transitions between the regimes.

    To know which equations you need to solve for - i.e. which regime from above - determine also when the slower transitions from acceleration to constant max. If it calculates out further ahead of the faster a one at max speed then you know to use the relationships of the second regime. If it is still behind, then the equations of the last regime, using the initial conditions you've found.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook