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Unformatted text preview: Worksheet #8  PHY102 Motion in a potential Although you first learn about Newtons second law ~ F = m~a and the dynamics that results from it, much of the discussion in the more advanced physics texts is in terms of potentials V ( ~ r ). A particle undergoes motion in a potential. Note that V is a scalar , while ~ F is a vector. It is often easier to work with the potential unless you are forced to work with the force. Actually even motion in a potential is carried out using Newtons second law. However visualizing the potential is very helpful in developing physical insight into the trajectories. It is also useful in understanding thermodynamic processes, which are statistical in nature. Anyway for our purposes, we just need to know how to relate the the force to the potential, and that is via the equation: ~ F ( x, y, z ) = ( V x , V y , V z ) (1) Often it is easier to work in polar coordinates ( r, , ). If we work with central potentials , V...
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This note was uploaded on 07/25/2008 for the course PHY 102 taught by Professor Duxbury during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.
 Spring '08
 DUXBURY
 Physics, Work

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