(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); 1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

As a locomotive rounds a circular curve of radius 2.10 km (which would be 2100 m to keep all the units the same), its speed is increasing at a rate of 0.440 m/s2. An instrument in the cab (an accelerometer) indicates that the magnitude of the locomotive's total acceleration at a particular instant is 0.760 m/s2. What is the locomotive's speed at that instant?

After I got it wrong the first few times, I was also given the hint: "The total acceleration is the VECTOR sum of the centripetal acceleration and the tangential acceleration."

2. Relevant equations

The equations I have in my notes regarding non-uniform circular motion are:

Radial Acceleration: Ar = -(mv^2)/R

Tangential acceleration: At = d|v|/dt

and Total Acceleration: Atot = √(Ar^2 + At^2)

3. The attempt at a solution

To solve, would it be correct to do the following:

Ar = √(Atot^2 - At^2)

And then sub that number into

V = √((RAr)/(-m)

But, if I were to do that, I would get the square root of a negative number, which is an irrational number, which I can't have as a velocity?

Is there a better way to go about this question? What am I doing wrong?

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# Homework Help: Non-Uniform Circular Motion: Locomotive Rounding a Curve

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