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# MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Department of Physics 8.

01

## Problem Solving Session 10 Simple Harmonic Oscillator Solutions

W13D3-0 Group Problem Gravitational Simple Harmonic Oscillator

Two identical point-like objects each of mass m1 are fixed in place and separated by a distance 2 d . A third object of mass m2 is free to move and lies on the perpendicular bisector of the line connecting the two objects at a distance y (t ) above the midpoint of that line. The objects interact gravitationally. The force is attractive and has magnitude
! Gm1m2 . Fgrav = r2

where r is the distance between the objects. a) Determine an expression for the y component of the gravitational force acting on the object in terms of m1 , m2 , G , y (t ) , and d as needed using the fact that cos! = y / ( d 2 + y 2 )1/ 2 . b) Find an equation that the acceleration d 2 y / dt 2 of the object with mass m2 satisfies in terms of the quantities m1 , m2 , G , y (t ) , and d as needed. c) Use the approximation that y(t ) << d in your equation in part a) to find an equation for d 2 y / dt 2 in terms of the quantities m1 , m2 , G , y (t ) , and d as needed. d) Assume that at t = 0 , the object of mass m2 is at the equilibrium position but has an initial upward speed v0 . Write down an expression for the subsequent motion y (t ) , in terms of m1 , m2 , G , v0 , and d as needed. Assume that y(t ) << d .

Solution: The free body force diagram on the object of mass m2 is shown in the figure below

## The y component of force acting on the object is

Fy = ! Gm1m2 (d 2 + y2 ) 2cos" .

## y so the y component of force is ( d + y 2 )1/ 2

2

Fy = !

2Gm1m2 y ( d 2 + y 2 )3/ 2

## Therefore Newtons Second Law yields the equation of motion

2Gm m y d2y m2 2 = ! 2 1 2 2 3/ 2 dt (d + y )

## When y(t ) << d the equation of motion becomes

2Gm d2y ! ! 3 1 y. 2 dt d
This is a simple harmonic oscillation equation of motion with solution

y(t ) = y0 cos(! 0t ) +
where

v y ,0

!0
.

sin(! 0t )

!0 =

2Gm1 d3

## The initial conditions are y0 = 0 and v y ,0 = v0 > 0 . Therefore

y (t ) =

v0 sin(! 0t ) , !0

v y (t ) = v0 cos(! 0t ) .

IC_W13D3-3 Group Problem Katers Pendulum Solutions A pendulum consists of a rod and two knife-edges separated from the center of mass l1 and l2 respectively (figure below left). The moment of inertia of the rod about the center
2 of mass is I 0 = mk g where k g is a constant called the radius of gyration. When the

pendulum is pivoted about the upper knife-edge (figure below center), the period for small oscillations is T1 . When the pendulum is turned upside down and pivoted about the other edge (figure below right), and the period for small oscillations is T2 . The distances
l1 and l2 are adjusted until T1 = T2 ! T . Express your answers to the following questions

in terms of l1 , l2 , and T as needed. a) What is the radius of gyration k g ? b) Using your results from part (a), show that the gravitational acceleration g can be determined by measuring the length between the knife-edges l1 + l2 and the period T .

Solution: We can treat each case as a physical pendulum. The torque equation of motion when suspended from the upper edge is

## ! l1mg sin " = I1

d 2" . dt 2

2 + l12 ) . Using The moment on inertia about the upper knife-edge is I1 = I 0 + ml12 = m( k g

## the small angle approximation sin ! ! ! . The torque equation becomes

d 2" ! l1mg" = m( k + l ) 2 . dt
2 g 2 1

Then the equation of motion for the pendulum is a simple harmonic oscillator equation of motion l1 g d 2! + ! = 0. 2 dt 2 ( k g + l12 ) The period of oscillation is therefore
2 T1 = 2! ( k g + l12 ) / l1 g .

When the pendulum is turned upside down and suspended from the other knife-edge and similar argument yields for the period
2 2 T2 = 2! ( k g + l2 ) / l2 g .

Because distances l1 and l2 have been adjusted until T1 = T2 ! T , we can solve for k g by squaring the periods and setting them equal yielding
2 2 4! (( k g + l12 ) / l1 g ) = 4! (( k g + l22 ) / l2 g )

## A little rearrangement yields

2 2 2 kg + l12 = ( k g + l2 )l1 / l2

2 kg (( l2 ! l1 ) / l2 ) = l1 ( l2 ! l1 )

or
2 kg = l1l2 .

## Therefore the period is

T = 2! ( l1l2 + l12 ) / l1 g = 2! ( l2 + l1 ) / g
Hence
g = 4! 2 ( l2 + l1 ) / T 2 .

The answer only depends on the distance between the knife-edges l1 + l2 , and the measured period, T .

W13D3-3 Group Problem Small Oscillations Lennard Jones Potential Solution A commonly used potential energy function to describe the interaction between two atoms is the Lennard-Jones 6,12 potential
12 6 \$ U (r ) = U 0 " #( r0 / r ) ! 2( r0 / r ) % ; r > 0 .

where r is the distance between the atoms. Let m denote the effective mass of the system of two atoms. a) Determine the value of r such that the potential energy is minimum. b) Determine the value of the second derivative of the potential energy at the minimum of the potential. c) Find the angular frequency of small oscillations about the stable equilibrium position for two identical atoms bound to each other by the Lennard-Jones interaction. Solution: The equilibrium points are found by setting the first derivative of the potential energy equal to zero, dU 0= = U0 " !12r012 r !13 + 12r06 r !7 \$ # %. dr Therefore the equilibrium point is located at r = r0 . The second derivative of the potential energy is

## d 2U = U0 " +(12)(13)r012 r !14 ! (12)(7)r06 r !8 \$ 2 # %. dr

Evaluating this at r = r0 yields

d 2U ( r0 ) = 72U 0 r0 !2 2 dr
The angular frequency of small oscillation is therefore

!0 =

d 2U ( r0 ) / m = 72U 0 / mr0 2 . 2 dr