Sliding on the Surface of a Rough Sphere
NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS MD DEPT OF PHYSICS
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A well-known textbook problem treats the motion of a particle sliding frictionlessly on the surface of a sphere. An interesting variation is to consider what happens when kinetic friction is present. A rich variety of curves of upsilon theta are possible for a point particle sliding on the surface of a rough sphere. Generating and graphing these curves can therefore prove a profitable method for students to learn how to use a spreadsheet in introductory physics. In particular, it can help them appreciate that while it is helpful to try random values of the plot parameters, a more focused approach is necessary to sample the full range of possible trajectories of a nontrivial dynamical system.
- Operations Research