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Homework Help: Skier on a sphere problem involving conservation of energy

  1. Nov 7, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    A skier of mass m starts from rest at the top of a solid sphere of radius r and slides down its frictionless surface. At what angle (theta) will the skier leave the sphere? And if friction were present, would the skier fly off at a greater or lesser angle?

    2. Relevant equations
    I am assuming that we will use the conservation of energy, perhaps mgh=1/2mv^2. Something like that?

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Honestly, I am completely at a loss. I tried to approach this problem with some of the formulas in the book but could not figure it out. Please help me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2008 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Gold Member

    Rather than considering conservation of energy, a better approach may be to examine the forces acting on the skier, paying particular attention to the normal reaction force.
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