An Object Accelerating on a Ramp| University Physics

The object moving along a ramp is shown on the xy plane. The surface of the ramp has a curved shape. A local minimum and local maximum are shown, minimum being to the left of maximum. The object in position 2 is located at the minimum, the object in position 1 is located above and to the left of position 2, at the convex part of the curve, and the object in position 3 is located at the local maximum.

Which direction best approximates the direction of acceleration when the object is at position 1?

ANSWER: downward to the right

At this point, the object’s velocity vector is not changing direction; rather, it is increasing in magnitude. Therefore, the object’s acceleration is nearly parallel to its velocity.

Which direction best approximates the direction of acceleration when the object is at position 2?

ANSWER: straight up

At this point, the speed has a local maximum; thus the magnitude of \vec{v} is not changing. Therefore, no component of the acceleration vector is parallel to the velocity vector. However, since the direction of \vec{v}  is changing there is an acceleration.

Which direction best approximates the direction of acceleration when the object is at position 3?

ANSWER: straight down

At this point, the speed has a local minimum; thus the magnitude of \vec{v} is not changing. Therefore, no component of the acceleration vector is parallel to the velocity vector. However, since the direction of \vec{v} is changing there is an acceleration.

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