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Figure shows Colonel John P. Stapp in his braking rocket sled; see Exercise 45, (a) His body is an accelerometer, not a speedometer, Explain, (b) Can you tell the direction of the acceleration from the figure?

Figure shows Colonel John P. Stapp in his braking rocket sled; see Exercise 45, (a) His body is an accelerometer, not a speedometer, Explain, (b) Can you tell the direction of the acceleration from the figure?

Grade:11

1 Answers

Kevin Nash
askIITians Faculty 332 Points
6 years ago
We assume that the Colonel in his breaking Rocket sled is in moving eastward relative to the position of observer. We first discuss the motion of Colonel and the Rocket sled when
The brakes are applied on the sled and then take the accelerating motion of the sled as shown in the figure.
As soon as the brakes are applied, the rocket sled would tend to come at rest in minimum time, a very large deceleration in the direction opposite to the direction of motion of sled. Therefore the rocket sled decelerates westwards.
However the same does not happens with colonel. Due to the property of inertia, the Colonel would be in the same state of motion as was the rocket sled before the brakes were applied. If there is no support from the seat belts, the colonel would have fallen forward against the decelerating motion of the sled.
But from the given figure it is clear that the rocket sled is accelerating, say in eastward direction. Again, the inertia of the colonel would want to keep him in the same state of motion therefore any acceleration in eastward direction would exert a large force on colonel towards the west. The effect of this force is that, the colonel would experience a high acceleration in the west direction.
One should note that the acceleration on the colonel appear only when there is a change in velocity of the rocket sled.

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