Exploration 3.3: Acceleration of a Golf Ball That Rims the Hole

Draw New Vector Clear Drawing

Please wait for the animation to completely load.

A putted golf ball "rims" the hole as shown in the animation (position is given in centimeters and time is given in seconds). Velocity vectors for the ball at the instant just before it hits the hole and the instant just after it hits the hole are shown. Restart. Note that the ball's speed does not change upon hitting the edge of the hole; this would not occur for an actual golf ball that rims the hole.

Suppose we want to find the average acceleration of the golf ball at some instant when it is in contact with the hole.

  1. Draw the change-in-velocity vector using the velocity vectors shown. Click "Draw Vector" to add a vector to the animation and click "Clear Screen" to erase all drawn vectors.
  2. What is the magnitude and direction of the change-in-velocity during this interval?
  3. What is the average acceleration during this interval?
  4. For the animation shown, at what instant do you think the instantaneous acceleration will equal the average acceleration of the golf ball during the time interval from 0.9 s to 1.2 s?
  5. Click here to view the acceleration vector. If your change-in-velocity vector is still drawn on the screen, then you can stop the animation at the point where the acceleration vector and change-in-velocity vector match up. Did this occur at the instant you predicted?

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Exploration authored by Aaron Titus with support by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-9952323 and placed in the public domain.

Physlets were developed at Davidson College and converted from Java to JavaScript using the SwingJS system developed at St. Olaf College.

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