Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The Lorentz Transformations and vector components

  1. Feb 27, 2007 #1
    If a rod is traveling with a velocity 'v' and its proper length is [tex]L_0[/tex]

    will the lorentz transformations given below hold true for the length contraction

    [tex] L_0 = \frac {L} { \sqrt {1 - \frac {{v_x}^2} {c^2}}} [/tex]

    [tex] L_0 = \frac {L} { \sqrt {1 - \frac {{v_y}^2} {c^2}}} [/tex]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2007 #2

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, that is incorrect, first you apply the Gamma transform in one dimension. Second your formula (did you try it?) does not contract, it expands.

    Let v= .9c what does your formula predict for the length?

    OH! pardon me, did you really want to express [itex] L_0 [/itex] as a function of v ? Or did you mean to write:

    [tex]L =\frac {L_0} \sqrt {1 - {( \frac v c )^2}}[/tex]
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  4. Feb 27, 2007 #3
    Err...i meant to write L to be the Length as observed by an observer who is observing the moving rod
     
  5. Feb 27, 2007 #4
    and if the rod is going at an angle relative to the x axis or to the y axis,then wouldnt we first calculate the contraction of its 'x' component and then see the new length?
     
  6. Feb 27, 2007 #5

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In special relativity the motion is assumed to be aligned with the x axis. The Lorentz transform of the y axis is

    y= y'
     
  7. Feb 27, 2007 #6

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Opps! I kinda messed that up, this why I do not like to work off the top of my head. (I do not have a reference handy)

    [tex]L = {L_0} \sqrt {1 - {( \frac v c )^2}}[/tex]

    There, now we have contraction!
     
  8. Feb 27, 2007 #7
    ok.But what of we hav a rod travelling at an angle?How would we calculate the length conrtraction without taking its components?
     
  9. Feb 27, 2007 #8
    That is something we use for simplicity, isn't it? It makes deriving formulae easier.
     
  10. Feb 27, 2007 #9

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Since in Special Relativity, motion is linear, you can always align the axis with the motion. Why wouldn't you?
     
  11. Feb 27, 2007 #10
    i agree with neutrino.But why isnt the calculation of the contraction taking components correct?

    for example,as u said if we assume the motion to be in the direction of the x axis,then we can simply say the relative velocity along the y axis is zero

    Therefore
    [tex] L_0_y = \frac {L_y} { \sqrt {1 - \frac {{0}^2} {c^2}}} [/tex]

    would giv us [tex]L_0_y=L_y[/tex]

    therefore there isnt any contraction in the direction of the 'y' axis!
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  12. Feb 27, 2007 #11

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Your equation, as written, is pretty useless. It seems to imply that L 0 is a function of L. Do you really want to say that L 0 is changing?

    An object only contracts in the direction of motion. That is a simple fact, perhaps you need to look a bit more carefully at the FULL set of Lorentz transforms.
     
  13. Feb 27, 2007 #12
    PLease tell me then,how would we calculate the length contraction if the object is moving with an angle with respect to the horizontal?
     
  14. Feb 27, 2007 #13

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Once again, align your coordinate system with the direction of linear motion.
     
  15. Feb 27, 2007 #14
    ok,ill ask a question related to the topic:

    If we hav say an equilateral trinagle(a cardboard cutout) and its travelling with a certain velocity with respect to a person A.Would he observer the angles to be any different from 60 degrees?(when compared to the proper angles)
     
  16. Feb 27, 2007 #15
    Obviously for three or more objects with different velocities, except for trivial cases, that would not be the case.

    In such cases you can use the velocity addition formula.
    Note, however, that this formula is neither commutative or associative except for trivial cases!
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  17. Feb 27, 2007 #16
    a simpler problem but instructive

    I used to solve with myh students the follolwing problem. Consider a rod of given proper length at rest in I. It makes a given angle (theta') with the positive direction of the O'X' axis. Find out its length measured by observers of the I frame relative to which it moves with V.
     
  18. Feb 27, 2007 #17
    Umm...according to me,the radius of the rod(cylindrical) should change...correct?Are u a teacher?
     
  19. Feb 27, 2007 #18
    I thought it was at rest w.r.t I?

    Or did you mean to say "length measured by observers of the I' frame relative to which it moves with V." If that's the case, will you accept this soltuion?

    [tex]L_{x} = \frac{L_{0x}}{\gamma\left(v_{cm}\right)} = \frac{L_{0}\cos{\theta}}{\gamma\left(v_{cm}\right)}
    [/tex]

    [tex]L_{y} = \frac{L_{0y}}{\gamma\left(v_{cm}\right)} = \frac{L_{0}\sin{\theta}}{\gamma\left(v_{cm}\right)}
    [/tex]

    [tex]\therefore L = \sqrt{L_{x}^{2} + L_{y}^{2}} = \frac{L_0}{\gamma}[/tex]

    Edit: After reading this post by jtbell, I think I might've made a mistake.:blushing:
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  20. Feb 27, 2007 #19
    I dont think uve made a mistake!I think only the radius of the cylinder should change,as the direction of motion of the rod is in line with the x axis only the rod is at an angle but travelling at the same alignment
     
  21. Feb 27, 2007 #20

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    neutrino's analysis is in error; as jtbell explains, only the component of length parallel to the direction of motion will contract.
    What are you talking about with the radius of the cylinder? Assume it's a thin rod. A moving observer will measure both the length and the angle of the rod to be different, compared to observations made in the stick's proper frame.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: The Lorentz Transformations and vector components
  1. Lorentz Transformation (Replies: 7)

  2. Lorentz transformation (Replies: 1)

Loading...