2.6 Problem-solving basics for one dimensional kinematics  (Page 2/2)

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Step 5

Substitute the knowns along with their units into the appropriate equation, and obtain numerical solutions complete with units . This step produces the numerical answer; it also provides a check on units that can help you find errors. If the units of the answer are incorrect, then an error has been made. However, be warned that correct units do not guarantee that the numerical part of the answer is also correct.

Step 6

Check the answer to see if it is reasonable: Does it make sense? This final step is extremely important—the goal of physics is to accurately describe nature. To see if the answer is reasonable, check both its magnitude and its sign, in addition to its units. Your judgment will improve as you solve more and more physics problems, and it will become possible for you to make finer and finer judgments regarding whether nature is adequately described by the answer to a problem. This step brings the problem back to its conceptual meaning. If you can judge whether the answer is reasonable, you have a deeper understanding of physics than just being able to mechanically solve a problem.

When solving problems, we often perform these steps in different order, and we also tend to do several steps simultaneously. There is no rigid procedure that will work every time. Creativity and insight grow with experience, and the basics of problem solving become almost automatic. One way to get practice is to work out the text's examples for yourself as you read. Another is to work as many end-of-section problems as possible, starting with the easiest to build confidence and progressing to the more difficult. Once you become involved in physics, you will see it all around you, and you can begin to apply it to situations you encounter outside the classroom, just as is done in many of the applications in this text.

Unreasonable results

Physics must describe nature accurately. Some problems have results that are unreasonable because one premise is unreasonable or because certain premises are inconsistent with one another. The physical principle applied correctly then produces an unreasonable result. For example, if a person starting a foot race accelerates at $0\text{.}{\text{40 m/s}}^{2}$ for 100 s, his final speed will be 40 m/s (about 150 km/h)—clearly unreasonable because the time of 100 s is an unreasonable premise. The physics is correct in a sense, but there is more to describing nature than just manipulating equations correctly. Checking the result of a problem to see if it is reasonable does more than help uncover errors in problem solving—it also builds intuition in judging whether nature is being accurately described.

Use the following strategies to determine whether an answer is reasonable and, if it is not, to determine what is the cause.

Step 1

Solve the problem using strategies as outlined and in the format followed in the worked examples in the text . In the example given in the preceding paragraph, you would identify the givens as the acceleration and time and use the equation below to find the unknown final velocity. That is,

$v={v}_{0}+\text{at}=0+\left(0\text{.}\text{40}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}{\text{m/s}}^{2}\right)\left(\text{100}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{s}\right)=\text{40}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{m/s}.$

Step 2

Check to see if the answer is reasonable . Is it too large or too small, or does it have the wrong sign, improper units, …? In this case, you may need to convert meters per second into a more familiar unit, such as miles per hour.

$\left(\frac{\text{40 m}}{s}\right)\left(\frac{\text{3.28 ft}}{m}\right)\left(\frac{\text{1 mi}}{\text{5280 ft}}\right)\left(\frac{\text{60 s}}{\text{min}}\right)\left(\frac{\text{60 min}}{\text{1 h}}\right)=89 mph$

This velocity is about four times greater than a person can run—so it is too large.

Step 3

If the answer is unreasonable, look for what specifically could cause the identified difficulty . In the example of the runner, there are only two assumptions that are suspect. The acceleration could be too great or the time too long. First look at the acceleration and think about what the number means. If someone accelerates at $0\text{.}{\text{40 m/s}}^{2}$ , their velocity is increasing by 0.4 m/s each second. Does this seem reasonable? If so, the time must be too long. It is not possible for someone to accelerate at a constant rate of $0\text{.}{\text{40 m/s}}^{2}$ for 100 s (almost two minutes).

Section summary

• The six basic problem solving steps for physics are:

Step 1 . Examine the situation to determine which physical principles are involved.

Step 2 . Make a list of what is given or can be inferred from the problem as stated (identify the knowns).

Step 3 . Identify exactly what needs to be determined in the problem (identify the unknowns).

Step 4 . Find an equation or set of equations that can help you solve the problem.

Step 5 . Substitute the knowns along with their units into the appropriate equation, and obtain numerical solutions complete with units.

Step 6 . Check the answer to see if it is reasonable: Does it make sense?

Conceptual questions

What information do you need in order to choose which equation or equations to use to solve a problem? Explain.

What is the last thing you should do when solving a problem? Explain.

Determine the total force and the absolute pressure on the bottom of a swimming pool 28.0m by 8.5m whose uniform depth is 1 .8m.
for the answer to complete, the units need specified why
That's just how the AP grades. Otherwise, you could be talking about m/s when the answer requires m/s^2. They need to know what you are referring to.
Kyle
Suppose a speck of dust in an electrostatic precipitator has 1.0000×1012 protons in it and has a net charge of –5.00 nC (a very large charge for a small speck). How many electrons does it have?
how would I work this problem
Alexia
how can you have not an integer number of protons? If, on the other hand it supposed to be 1e12, then 1.6e-19C/proton • 1e12 protons=1.6e-7 C is the charge of the protons in the speck, so the difference between this and 5e-9C is made up by electrons
Igor
what is angular velocity
angular velocity can be defined as the rate of change in radian over seconds.
Fidelis
Why does earth exert only a tiny downward pull?
hello
Islam
Why is light bright?
an 8.0 capacitor is connected by to the terminals of 60Hz whoes rms voltage is 150v. a.find the capacity reactance and rms to the circuit
thanks so much. i undersooth well
what is physics
is the study of matter in relation to energy
Kintu
physics can be defined as the natural science that deals with the study of motion through space,time along with its related concepts which are energy and force
Fidelis
a submersible pump is dropped a borehole and hits the level of water at the bottom of the borehole 5 seconds later.determine the level of water in the borehole
what is power?
power P = Work done per second W/ t. It means the more power, the stronger machine
Sphere
e.g. heart Uses 2 W per beat.
Rohit
A spherica, concave shaving mirror has a radius of curvature of 32 cm .what is the magnification of a persons face. when it is 12cm to the left of the vertex of the mirror
did you solve?
Shii
1.75cm
Ridwan
my name is Abu m.konnek I am a student of a electrical engineer and I want you to help me
Abu
the magnification k = f/(f-d) with focus f = R/2 =16 cm; d =12 cm k = 16/4 =4
Sphere
what do we call velocity
Kings
A weather vane is some sort of directional arrow parallel to the ground that may rotate freely in a horizontal plane. A typical weather vane has a large cross-sectional area perpendicular to the direction the arrow is pointing, like a “One Way” street sign. The purpose of the weather vane is to indicate the direction of the wind. As wind blows pa
hi
Godfred
Godfred
If a prism is fully imersed in water then the ray of light will normally dispersed or their is any difference?
the same behavior thru the prism out or in water bud abbot
Ju
If this will experimented with a hollow(vaccum) prism in water then what will be result ?
Anurag