assignment Homework

Reduced Mass
Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

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.

assignment Homework

Mass Density
Static Fields 2022 (3 years) Consider a rod of length \(L\) lying on the \(z\)-axis. Find an algebraic expression for the mass density of the rod if the mass density at \(z=0\) is \(\lambda_0\) and at \(z=L\) is \(7\lambda_0\) and you know that the mass density increases
  • linearly;
  • like the square of the distance along the rod;
  • exponentially.

assignment Homework

Central Force Definition
Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

Which of the following forces can be central forces? which cannot? If the force CAN be a central force, explain the circumstances that would allow it to be a central force.

  1. The force on a test mass \(m\) in a gravitational field \(\vec{g~}\), i.e. \(m\vec g\)
  2. The force on a test charge \(q\) in an electric field \(\vec E\), i.e. \(q\vec E\)
  3. The force on a test charge \(q\) moving at velocity \(\vec{v~}\) in a magnetic field \(\vec B\), i.e. \(q\vec v \times \vec B\)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Mass is not Conserved
Theoretical Mechanics 2021 (2 years)

energy conservation mass conservation collision

Groups are asked to analyze the following standard problem:

Two identical lumps of clay of (rest) mass m collide head on, with each moving at 3/5 the speed of light. What is the mass of the resulting lump of clay?

assignment Homework

Undo Formulas for Reduced Mass (Geometry)
Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

The figure below shows the position vector \(\vec r\) and the orbit of a “fictitious” reduced mass \(\mu\).

  1. Suppose \(m_1=m_2\), Sketch the position vectors and orbits for \(m_1\) and \(m_2\) corresponding to \(\vec{r}\). Describe a common physics example of central force motion for which \(m_1=m_2\).
  2. Repeat, for \(m_2>m_1\).

assignment Homework

Center of Mass for Two Uncoupled Particles
Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

Consider two particles of equal mass \(m\). The forces on the particles are \(\vec F_1=0\) and \(\vec F_2=F_0\hat{x}\). If the particles are initially at rest at the origin, find the position, velocity, and acceleration of the center of mass as functions of time. Solve this problem in two ways, with or without theorems about the center of mass motion. Write a short description comparing the two solutions.

face Lecture

10 min.

Systems of Particles Lecture Notes
Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

assignment Homework

Mass of a Slab
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Determine the total mass of each of the slabs below.

  1. A square slab of side length \(L\) with thickness \(h\), resting on a table top at \(z=0\), whose mass density is given by \begin{equation} \rho=A\pi\sin(\pi z/h). \end{equation}
  2. A square slab of side length \(L\) with thickness \(h\), resting on a table top at \(z=0\), whose mass density is given by \begin{equation} \rho = 2A \Big( \Theta(z)-\Theta(z-h) \Big) \end{equation}
  3. An infinitesimally thin square sheet of side length \(L\), resting on a table top at \(z=0\), whose surface density is given by \(\sigma=2Ah\).
  4. An infinitesimally thin square sheet of side length \(L\), resting on a table top at \(z=0\), whose mass density is given by \(\rho=2Ah\,\delta(z)\).
  5. What are the dimensions of \(A\)?
  6. Write several sentences comparing your answers to the different cases above.

assignment Homework

Find Force Law: Logarithmic Spiral Orbit
Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

In science fiction movies, characters often talk about a spaceship “spiralling in” right before it hits the planet. But all orbits in a \(1/r^2\) force are conic sections, not spirals. This spiralling in happens because the spaceship hits atmosphere and the drag from the atmosphere changes the shape of the orbit. But, in an alternate universe, we might have other force laws.

Find the force law for a mass \(\mu\), under the influence of a central-force field, that moves in a logarithmic spiral orbit given by \(r = ke^{\alpha \phi}\), where \(k\) and \(\alpha\) are constants.

assignment Homework

Mass-radius relationship for white dwarfs
White dwarf Mass Density Energy Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

Consider a white dwarf of mass \(M\) and radius \(R\). The dwarf consists of ionized hydrogen, thus a bunch of free electrons and protons, each of which are fermions. Let the electrons be degenerate but nonrelativistic; the protons are nondegenerate.

  1. Show that the order of magnitude of the gravitational self-energy is \(-\frac{GM^2}{R}\), where \(G\) is the gravitational constant. (If the mass density is constant within the sphere of radius \(R\), the exact potential energy is \(-\frac53\frac{GM^2}{R}\)).

  2. Show that the order of magnitude of the kinetic energy of the electrons in the ground state is \begin{align} \frac{\hbar^2N^{\frac53}}{mR^2} \approx \frac{\hbar^2M^{\frac53}}{mM_H^{\frac53}R^2} \end{align} where \(m\) is the mass of an electron and \(M_H\) is the mas of a proton.

  3. Show that if the gravitational and kinetic energies are of the same order of magnitude (as required by the virial theorem of mechanics), \(M^{\frac13}R \approx 10^{20} \text{g}^{\frac13}\text{cm}\).

  4. If the mass is equal to that of the Sun (\(2\times 10^{33}g\)), what is the density of the white dwarf?

  5. It is believed that pulsars are stars composed of a cold degenerate gas of neutrons (i.e. neutron stars). Show that for a neutron star \(M^{\frac13}R \approx 10^{17}\text{g}^{\frac13}\text{cm}\). What is the value of the radius for a neutron star with a mass equal to that of the Sun? Express the result in \(\text{km}\).

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Energy radiated from one oscillator
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

blackbody radiation

This lecture is one step in motivating the form of the Planck distribution.

group Small Group Activity

10 min.

Survivor Outer Space: A kinesthetic approach to (re)viewing center-of-mass
Central Forces 2022 (2 years) A group of students, tethered together, are floating freely in outer space. Their task is to devise a method to reach a food cache some distance from their group.

assignment Homework

Icecream Mass
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

Use integration to find the total mass of the icecream in a packed cone (both the cone and the hemisphere of icecream on top).

assignment Homework

Effective Potentials: Graphical Version
Central Forces 2022

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 \(\ell\).

  1. Give the definition of a central force system and briefly explain why this situation qualifies.
  2. Make a sketch of the graph of the effective potential for this situation.
  3. How should you push the puck to establish a circular orbit? (i.e. Characterize the initial position, direction of push, and strength of the push. You do NOT need to solve any equations.)
  4. BRIEFLY discuss the possible orbit shapes that can arise from this effective potential. Include a discussion of whether the orbits are open or closed, bound or unbound, etc. Make sure that you refer to your sketch of the effective potential in your discussions, mark any points of physical significance on the sketch, and describe the range of parameters relevant to each type of orbit. Include a discussion of the role of the total energy of the orbit.

computer Mathematica Activity

30 min.

Effective Potentials
Central Forces 2022 (2 years) 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.

assignment Homework

Undo Formulas for Reduced Mass (Algebra)
Central Forces 2022 For systems of particles, we used the formulas \begin{align} \vec{R}_{cm}&=\frac{1}{M}\left(m_1\vec{r}_1+m_2\vec{r}_2\right) \nonumber\\ \vec{r}&=\vec{r}_2-\vec{r}_1 \label{cm} \end{align} to switch from a rectangular coordinate system that is unrelated to the system to coordinates adapted to the center-of-mass. After you have solved the equations of motion in the center-of-mass coordinates, you may want to transform back to the original coordinate system. Find the inverse transformation, i.e. solve for: \begin{align} \vec{r}_1&=\\ \vec{r}_2&= \end{align} Hint: The system of equations (\ref{cm}) is linear, i.e. each variable is to the first power, even though the variables are vectors. In this case, you can use all of the methods you learned for solving systems of equations while keeping the variables vector valued, i.e. you can safely ignore the fact that the \(\vec{r}\)s are vectors while you are doing the algebra.

assignment Homework

Ice calorimetry lab questions
This question is about the lab we did in class: Ice Calorimetry Lab.
  1. Plot your data I Plot the temperature versus total energy added to the system (which you can call \(Q\)). To do this, you will need to integrate the power. Discuss this curve and any interesting features you notice on it.
  2. Plot your data II Plot the heat capacity versus temperature. This will be a bit trickier. You can find the heat capacity from the previous plot by looking at the slope. \begin{align} C_p &= \left(\frac{\partial Q}{\partial T}\right)_p \end{align} This is what is called the heat capacity, which is the amount of energy needed to change the temperature by a given amount. The \(p\) subscript means that your measurement was made at constant pressure. This heat capacity is actually the total heat capacity of everything you put in the calorimeter, which includes the resistor and thermometer.
  3. Specific heat From your plot of \(C_p(T)\), work out the heat capacity per unit mass of water. You may assume the effect of the resistor and thermometer are negligible. How does your answer compare with the prediction of the Dulong-Petit law?
  4. Latent heat of fusion What did the temperature do while the ice was melting? How much energy was required to melt the ice in your calorimeter? How much energy was required per unit mass? per molecule?
  5. Entropy of fusion The change in entropy is easy to measure for a reversible isothermal process (such as the slow melting of ice), it is just \begin{align} \Delta S &= \frac{Q}{T} \end{align} where \(Q\) is the energy thermally added to the system and \(T\) is the temperature in Kelvin. What is was change in the entropy of the ice you melted? What was the change in entropy per molecule? What was the change in entropy per molecule divided by Boltzmann's constant?
  6. Entropy for a temperature change Choose two temperatures that your water reached (after the ice melted), and find the change in the entropy of your water. This change is given by \begin{align} \Delta S &= \int \frac{{\mathit{\unicode{273}}} Q}{T} \\ &= \int_{t_i}^{t_f} \frac{P(t)}{T(t)}dt \end{align} where \(P(t)\) is the heater power as a function of time and \(T(t)\) is the temperature, also as a function of time.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Applying the equipartition theorem
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

equipartition theorem

Students count the quadratic degrees of freedom of a few toy molecules to predict their internal energy at temperature \(T\).

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

A glass of water
Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

thermodynamics intensive extensive temperature volume energy entropy

Students generate a list of properties a glass of water might have. The class then discusses and categorizes those properties.

assignment Homework

Potential vs. Potential Energy
Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

In this course, two of the primary examples we will be using are the potential due to gravity and the potential due to an electric charge. Both of these forces vary like \(\frac{1}{r}\), so they will have many, many similarities. Most of the calculations we do for the one case will be true for the other. But there are some extremely important differences:

  1. Find the value of the electrostatic potential energy of a system consisting of a hydrogen nucleus and an electron separated by the Bohr radius. Find the value of the gravitational potential energy of the same two particles at the same radius. Use the same system of units in both cases. Compare and the contrast the two answers.
  2. Find the value of the electrostatic potential due to the nucleus of a hydrogen atom at the Bohr radius. Find the gravitational potential due to the nucleus at the same radius. Use the same system of units in both cases. Compare and contrast the two answers.
  3. Briefly discuss at least one other fundamental difference between electromagnetic and gravitational systems. Hint: Why are we bound to the earth gravitationally, but not electromagnetically?