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Thomas Bensky and
Matthew J. Moelter
The Bead on a Hyperbolic Tangent model computes the dynamics if a bead constrained to slide on a hyperbolic tangent shaped wire. The model uses an Euler algorithm to evolve the system and it displays the velocity, acceleration, and normal force vectors as the bead slides along the wire. Separate graphs show the energy and force components. The goal of this teaching model is to find the proper acceleration that will guide a particle along an arbitrary single valued function, y=f(x)--in other words, to simulate the classic "bead on a wire." Although there are many methods for doing this, the focus of this work to keep the theory and procedures within the realm of freshman physics. The origins of this work are from an ongoing effort to add computation, in the form of computer animation projects, to the freshman mechanics course. This work is descdribed in the American Journal of Physics (AJP) publication "Computational problems in introductory physics: lessons from a bead on a wire," by T. Bensky and M. Moelter.
The Bead on a Hyperbolic Tangent model was developed using the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) modeling tool. It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive. Double clicking the jar file will run the program if Java is installed.
Published December 17, 2012
Last Modified June 2, 2014
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The source code zip archive contains an XML representation of the Bead on a Hyperbolic Tangent Model. Unzip this archive in your EJS workspace to compile and run this model using EJS.
Last Modified December 17, 2012