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Homework Help: Rollercoaster velocity question, only given: radius of loop.

  1. Nov 15, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The rollercoaster moves freely without negligible friction. The radius of the loop is 20m and the car barely makes it through the loop.
    Find the speed at position 3.
    Find the speed at position 1 and 2.
    Find the difference in height between position 1 and 4 if the speed at position 4 is 10m/s.

    The only part I've been able to solve so far is position 3 which I used the formula:

    I'm not sure what direction to take for position one and two and was wondering if I could get help with those two parts. Thank you so much :)
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2011 #2
    I think that you mean 'with negligible friction'.

    For position 1 and 2 you can try using conservation of energy.
  4. Nov 16, 2011 #3
    Oh yes. That is a typo, it moves with negligible friction. I understand that this is a conservation of energy but I am lost on how to use the formula without knowing the mass or height to then solve for velocity.
  5. Nov 16, 2011 #4
    re speed at position 1:

    Energy at 3 = energy at 1

    What kind of energy at 3?
    What kind of energy at 1?

    Note that the height at 3 = 2 x radius and you do not need the mass because it eliminates itself.
  6. Nov 16, 2011 #5
    Thanks I figured it out. The values are for point 1 the velocity is 31.3 m/s. For point 2 the velocity is 24.2m/s. Lastly, the height differences between 1 and 4 is 44.9m. That was great help. :)
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