Two charged particles moving towards each other

  • #1

Homework Statement

Two protons are moving directly towards each other. When they are very far apart, their initial speeds are 1.5 x 10^6 m/s. What is the distance of closest approach?

Homework Equations

The Attempt at a Solution

I know how to do this problem when one of the charges are fixed by using the law of conservation of energy. But in this problem, they are both moving towards each other, so is it possible to still use energy? In what manner?

Thanks everyone for helping out! =)
  • #2
If they are equal mass then they will both stop at the same time right?

So won't the total kinetic energy then be bound into potential energy between the two particles?
  • #3
That's right, I see now. I was thinking of it in a somewhat too traditional way, but now I get it. Thanks very much! For this and my other question too!


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