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Velocity of two spheres under gravitational attraction

  • #1

Homework Statement


Two solid copper spheres of radii 1 and 2 cm are released from rest in free space, their centers being 20 cm apart. Estimate the velocity with which they collide

Homework Equations


density =mass/volume
F=GMm/r^2

The Attempt at a Solution


Find mass of each from density of copper and volume.
With mass and separation I can find force and initial acceleration towards each other.
This force changes with distance, so how would I take account of this in my solution?

Many thanks for any prompts.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
haruspex
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This force changes with distance, so how would I take account of this in my solution?
The short answer is to write down and solve a differential equation, but there is an easier way. What conservation law can you apply usefully?
 
  • #3
Thanks for responding so I can equate the loss in potential energy with the gain in kinetic energy?
I am just going to look at the formulas for this now
 

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