Students use a pre-written Mathematica notebook or a Geogebra applet to explore how the shape of the effective potential function changes as the various parameters (angular momentum, force constant, reduced mass) are varied.
Download and run this Mathematica notebook or this Geogebra applet.
You have four different sliders that control the values of four parameters \(k\), \(\ell\), \(\mu\), and \(E\).
Answer the following questions:
- What is the physical/geometric meaning of each parameter \(k\), \(\ell\), \(\mu\), \(E\)?
- How does each parameter \(k\), \(\ell\), \(\mu\), \(E\) affect the plot?
- Which term in the effective potential (\(-k/r\) or \(\ell^2/(2\mu r^2))\) dominates for small values of r? For large values of r? Explain in terms of both the equation and the graph.
- What are the classical turning points? Under what conditions will the particle be bound? Unbound?
- How do your answers for the last question change (if at all) if you consider a repulsive potential? Hint: Figure out what you must change in this notebook and investigate.
assignment Homework
Consider a mass \(\mu\) in the potential shown in the graph below. You give the mass a push so that its initial angular momentum is \(\ell\ne 0\) for a given fixed value of \(\ell\).
group Small Group Activity
10 min.
assignment Homework
The function \(\theta(x)\) (the Heaviside or unit step function) is a defined as: \begin{equation} \theta(x) =\begin{cases} 1 & \textrm{for}\; x>0 \\ 0 & \textrm{for}\; x<0 \end{cases} \end{equation} This function is discontinuous at \(x=0\) and is generally taken to have a value of \(\theta(0)=1/2\).
Make sketches of the following functions, by hand, on axes with the same scale and domain. Briefly describe, using good scientific writing that includes both words and equations, the role that the number two plays in the shape of each graph: \begin{align} y &= \theta (x)\\ y &= 2+\theta (x)\\ y &= \theta(2+x)\\ y &= 2\theta (x)\\ y &= \theta (2x) \end{align}
assignment Homework
In a solid, a free electron doesn't see” a bare nuclear charge since the nucleus is surrounded by a cloud of other electrons. The nucleus will look like the Coulomb potential close-up, but be screened” from far away. A common model for such problems is described by the Yukawa or screened potential: \begin{equation} U(r)= -\frac{k}{r} e^{-\frac{r}{\alpha}} \end{equation}
group Small Group Activity
120 min.
face Lecture
120 min.
phase transformation Clausius-Clapeyron mean field theory thermodynamics
These lecture notes from the ninth week of Thermal and Statistical Physics cover phase transformations, the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, mean field theory and more. They include a number of small group activities.assignment Homework
Consider the frictionless motion of a hockey puck of mass \(m\) on a perfectly circular bowl-shaped ice rink with radius \(a\). The central region of the bowl (\(r < 0.8a\)) is perfectly flat and the sides of the ice bowl smoothly rise to a height \(h\) at \(r = a\).
assignment Homework
Consider a very light particle of mass \(\mu\) scattering from a very heavy, stationary particle of mass \(M\). The force between the two particles is a repulsive Coulomb force \(\frac{k}{r^2}\). The impact parameter \(b\) in a scattering problem is defined to be the distance which would be the closest approach if there were no interaction (See Figure). The initial velocity (far from the scattering event) of the mass \(\mu\) is \(\vec v_0\). Answer the following questions about this situation in terms of \(k\), \(M\), \(\mu\), \(\vec v_0\), and \(b\). ()It is not necessarily wise to answer these questions in order.)
computer Mathematica Activity
30 min.
assignment Homework
Using your favorite graphing package, make a plot of the reduced mass \begin{equation} \mu=\frac{m_1\, m_2}{m_1+m_2} \end{equation} as a function of \(m_1\) and \(m_2\). What about the shape of this graph tells you something about the physical world that you would like to remember. You should be able to find at least three things. Hint: Think limiting cases.