Position, velocity, acceleration problems

When solving a Physics problem in general and one of Kinematics in particular, it is important that you follow an order. Get used to being organized when you solve problems, and you will see how it gives good results. It is worth spending a little time on the previous analysis of a problem before you tackle it.

When solving a Kinematics problem, follow the following steps:

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  • Read carefully the Problem Statement.
  • Draw a picture of the physical situation depicted in the problem statement, clearly indicating which reference frame you will use to solve it. You must indicate where the origin of the reference system is located and the positive direction of the axes you are going to use.
  • Write in your notebook the givens in the problem statement.
  • Identify which are the initial conditions of the problem: what is the initial position of the particle, its initial velocity and its acceleration.
  • If the acceleration is a given, you will have to integrate it to obtain the velocity and integrate this velocity to obtain the position vector. In both integrals, you must take into account the initial conditions.
  • The components of each vector must have the corresponding sign depending on your choice of the Cartesian axes.
  • Do not forget to include the units in your results.
  • Review the problem and check that the results you have obtained make sense.

On the following pages you will find solved Kinematic problems. Try to do them yourself before looking at the resolution.

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