1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Two charged particles moving towards each other

  1. Feb 1, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    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?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. 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. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    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?
  4. Feb 2, 2009 #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!!!

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?