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  • Calculate relativistic velocity addition.
  • Explain when relativistic velocity addition should be used instead of classical addition of velocities.
  • Calculate relativistic Doppler shift.
A man with oar in his hand is kayaking downstream in a shallow fast-flowing river.
The total velocity of a kayak, like this one on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts, is its velocity relative to the water as well as the water’s velocity relative to the riverbank. (credit: abkfenris, Flickr)

If you’ve ever seen a kayak move down a fast-moving river, you know that remaining in the same place would be hard. The river current pulls the kayak along. Pushing the oars back against the water can move the kayak forward in the water, but that only accounts for part of the velocity. The kayak’s motion is an example of classical addition of velocities. In classical physics, velocities add as vectors. The kayak’s velocity is the vector sum of its velocity relative to the water and the water’s velocity relative to the riverbank.

Classical velocity addition

For simplicity, we restrict our consideration of velocity addition to one-dimensional motion. Classically, velocities add like regular numbers in one-dimensional motion. (See [link] .) Suppose, for example, a girl is riding in a sled at a speed 1.0 m/s relative to an observer. She throws a snowball first forward, then backward at a speed of 1.5 m/s relative to the sled. We denote direction with plus and minus signs in one dimension; in this example, forward is positive. Let v size 12{v} {} be the velocity of the sled relative to the Earth, u size 12{u} {} the velocity of the snowball relative to the Earth-bound observer, and u size 12{u rSup { size 8{'} } } {} the velocity of the snowball relative to the sled.

In part a, a man is pulling a sled towards the right with a velocity v equals one point zero meters per second. A girl sitting on the sled facing forward throws a snowball toward a boy on the far right of the picture. The snowball is labeled u primed equals one point five meters per second in the direction the sled is being pulled. The boy is labelled two point five meters per second. In figure b, a similar figure is shown, but the man’s velocity is one point zero meters per second, the girl is facing backward and throwing the snowball behind the sled. The snowball is labelled u primed equals negative one point five meters per second, and the boy is labelled u equals negative zero point five meters per second.
Classically, velocities add like ordinary numbers in one-dimensional motion. Here the girl throws a snowball forward and then backward from a sled. The velocity of the sled relative to the Earth is v= 1 . 0 m/s size 12{ ital "v="1 "." 0`"m/s"} {} . The velocity of the snowball relative to the truck is u size 12{u rSup { size 8{'} } } {} , while its velocity relative to the Earth is u size 12{u} {} . Classically, u=v+u .

Classical velocity addition

u=v+u

Thus, when the girl throws the snowball forward, u = 1.0 m/s + 1.5 m/s = 2.5 m/s . It makes good intuitive sense that the snowball will head towards the Earth-bound observer faster, because it is thrown forward from a moving vehicle. When the girl throws the snowball backward, u = 1.0 m/s + ( 1.5 m/s ) = 0.5 m/s . The minus sign means the snowball moves away from the Earth-bound observer.

Relativistic velocity addition

The second postulate of relativity (verified by extensive experimental observation) says that classical velocity addition does not apply to light. Imagine a car traveling at night along a straight road, as in [link] . If classical velocity addition applied to light, then the light from the car’s headlights would approach the observer on the sidewalk at a speed u=v+c size 12{ ital "u=v+c"} {} . But we know that light will move away from the car at speed c size 12{c} {} relative to the driver of the car, and light will move towards the observer on the sidewalk at speed c size 12{c} {} , too.

A car is moving towards right with velocity v. A boy standing on the side-walk observes the car. The velocity of light u primed is shown to be c as observed by the girl in the car and the velocity of light u is also c as observed by the boy.
According to experiment and the second postulate of relativity, light from the car’s headlights moves away from the car at speed c size 12{c} {} and towards the observer on the sidewalk at speed c size 12{c} {} . Classical velocity addition is not valid.

Questions & Answers

a thick glass cup cracks when hot liquid is poured into it suddenly
Aiyelabegan Reply
because of the sudden contraction that takes place.
Eklu
railway crack has gap between the end of each length because?
Aiyelabegan Reply
For expansion
Eklu
yes
Aiyelabegan
Please i really find it dificult solving equations on physic, can anyone help me out?
Big Reply
sure
Carlee
what is the equation?
Carlee
Sure
Precious
fersnels biprism spectrometer how to determined
Bala Reply
how to study the hall effect to calculate the hall effect coefficient of the given semiconductor have to calculate the carrier density by carrier mobility.
Bala
what is the difference between atomic physics and momentum
Nana Reply
find the dimensional equation of work,power,and moment of a force show work?
Emmanuel Reply
What's sup guys
Peter
cul and you all
Okeh
cool you bro
Nana
so what is going on here
Nana
hello peeps
Joseph
Michelson Morley experiment
Riya Reply
how are you
Naveed
am good
Celine
you
Celine
hi
Bala
Hi
Ahmed
Calculate the final velocity attained, when a ball is given a velocity of 2.5m/s, acceleration of 0.67m/s² and reaches its point in 10s. Good luck!!!
Eklu Reply
2.68m/s
Doc
vf=vi+at vf=2.5+ 0.67*10 vf= 2.5 + 6.7 vf = 9.2
babar
s = vi t +1/2at sq s=58.5 s=v av X t vf= 9.2
babar
how 2.68
babar
v=u+at where v=final velocity u=initial velocity a=acceleration t=time
Eklu
the answer is 9.2m/s
OBERT
express your height in Cm
Emmanuel Reply
my project is Sol gel process how to prepare this process pls tell me
Bala
the dimension of work and energy is ML2T2 find the unit of work and energy hence drive for work?
Emmanuel Reply
KgM2S2
Acquah
Two bodies P and Quarter each of mass 1000g. Moved in the same direction with speed of 10m/s and 20m/s respectively. Calculate the impulse of P and Q obeying newton's 3rd law of motion
Shimolla Reply
kk
Doc
the answer is 0.03n according to the 3rd law of motion if the are in same direction meaning they interact each other.
OBERT
definition for wave?
Doc Reply
A disturbance that travel from one medium to another and without causing permanent change to its displacement
Fagbenro
In physics, a wave is a disturbance that transfers energy through matter or space, with little or no associated mass transport (Mass transfer). ... There are two main types ofwaves: mechanical and electromagnetic. Mechanicalwaves propagate through a physical matter, whose substance is being deformed
Devansh
K
Manyo
thanks jare
Doc
Thanks
AMADI
Note: LINEAR MOMENTUM Linear momentum is defined as the product of a system’s mass multiplied by its velocity: size 12{p=mv} {}
AMADI
what is physic
zalmia Reply
please gave me answar
zalmia
Study of matter and energy
Fagbenro
physics is the science of matter and energy and their interactions
Acquah
physics is the technology behind air and matter
Doc
Okay
William
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Bala
how easy to understanding physics sir
Bala
Easy to learn
William
31. Calculate the initial (from rest) acceleration of a proton in a 5.00×106 N/C electric field (such as created by a research Van de Graaff). Explicitly show how you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving Strategy for electrostatics.
Catina Reply
A tennis ball is projected at an angle and attains a range of 78. if the velocity is 30metres per second, calculate the angle
Shimolla
what friction
Wisdom Reply
question on friction
Wisdom
the rubbing of one object or surface against another.
author
momentum is the product of mass and it's velocity.
Algayawi
what are bioelements?
Edina
Friction is a force that exist between two objects in contact. e.g. friction between road and car tires.
Eklu
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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