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Homework Help: Various expressions for the kinetic energy

  1. Jan 27, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Suppose that a hole is drilled through the center of Earth to the other side along its axis. A small object of mass m is dropped from rest into the hole at the surface of Earth, as shown above. If Earth is assumed to be a solid sphere of mass M and radius R and friction is assumed to be negligible, correct expressions for the kinetic energy of the mass as it passes Earth's center include which of the following?

    the given choices are as follows:
    a) (1/2) MgR
    b) (1/2)mgR
    c) (GmM)/(2R)
    2. Relevant equations

    Due to the conservation of energy, i said Potential energy = the final kinetic energy

    So, on the surface of the Earth, the total potential energy = -(GmM)/R
    this should equal kinetic energy

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I thought the answer should be (GmM)/R but none of them matches my answer.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2010 #2


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    Homework Helper

    You assumed that the potential energy is 0 in the centre of Earth. Is it true?

  4. Jan 27, 2010 #3
    yes cause GMm/R^2 R approaches 0
  5. Jan 28, 2010 #4


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    If R approaches 0 your expression goes to infinity.

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