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Weightless physics question

  1. Jul 3, 2007 #1
    I have a problem asking me what velocity must be achieved so that a person on at the top of a ferris wheel with a 15-m diameter can feel weightless. I am wondering how you define weightless. At first I tried setting mg=0, but I couldn't get anywhere that way.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2007 #2

    rcgldr

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    Homework Helper

    At the top of the ferris wheel, a person is weightless when the only source of centripetal force (the inwards force) is gravity. For that brief moment, the person is in freefall.
     
  4. Jul 3, 2007 #3

    uart

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    Weightlessness is simply where your acceleration exactly matches the local acceleration due to gravity.
     
  5. Jul 3, 2007 #4

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Right, so putting that together, you need to calculate the speed at which the centripetal acceleration equals g.

    Is this a homework problem...?
     
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