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Homework Help: Tangential Acceleration

  1. Dec 31, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Perhaps I am confused by the concept.
    A toy car starts from rest at a height 4R above the ground and continue to a loop of radius R (frictionless). At a point C (height R from the ground) inside the loop, what is the tangential acceleration of the toy car?

    2. Relevant equations

    I don't think a=alpha*r is quite relevant to this...or a=dv/dt...

    3. The attempt at a solution
    not quite yet. perhaps the gravity is the only thing?

    Please, explain me of the concept of 'tangential acceleration' and its components.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2013 #2


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    Tangential acceleration is simply the component of linear acceleration that's in the tangential direction. You are right that this is not the same as angular acceleration * radius, [itex]r\dot{ω}[/itex]. There is also the Coriolis term [itex]2\dot{r}ω[/itex].
    It's not quite clear from the question (the position of the loop in relation to the ground is not given): is point C where the loop is vertical?
  4. Jan 1, 2013 #3


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