Motion in a vertical circle

What is Motion in a Vertical Circle?

  • Motion in a vertical circle is a type of two-dimensional motion in which an object moves along a circular path in the vertical plane.
  • This motion involves forces acting on the moving object which can fluctuate depending on the object’s position in the circular path.
  • In general, the forces involve gravitational force acting downwards and centripetal force that pulls the object towards the centre of the circle.

Energy in Motion in a Vertical Circle

  • When an object moves in a vertical circle, it continually exchanges potential and kinetic energy.
  • At the highest point of the circle, the object will have maximum potential energy and a minimum kinetic energy due to its decreased speed.
  • At the lowest point, the object’s potential energy is at its lowest and the kinetic energy is highest due to the increased speed.
  • Understanding this exchange of kinetic and potential energy could be key to solving problems related to motion in a vertical circle.

Forces in Motion in a Vertical Circle

  • The centripetal force is important for maintaining the object’s circular path.
  • The tension force from a string, holding the object in circular motion, plays into the equation of the net force acting on the body.
  • If the system is under non-uniform circular motion, there will also be a tangential component of the force, often caused by factors like friction or propulsion.
  • Remember the tension is at its greatest at the bottom of the swing and smallest at the top.

Solving Problems in Motion in a Vertical Circle

  • Use Newton’s Second Law to derive the condition for motion in a vertical circle.
  • The formula for the centripetal force is given by Fc = mv^2/r, where m is the mass of the body, v its velocity and r the radius of the circle.
  • Find the speed of the object at various positions around the circle by using conservation of energy principles.
  • The tension in the string at any point can be calculated using T = Fc ± mgcosθ, where T is the tension, Fc the centripetal force, m the mass of the object, g the acceleration due to gravity, and θ the angle from the vertical.

Real-world Applications of Motion in a Vertical Circle

  • Insight on this concept is important within physics and mathematics, as well as real-world applications such as roller coaster design, vehicle turning, and the spin of celestial bodies.
  • An understanding of the forces involved and the energy exchanges that occur during the motion in a vertical circle are necessary for these applications.